Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Natural Resources Defense Council flunks most states' transportation policies (surprise, surprise)

The Natural Resources Defense Council and Smart Growth America teamed up in issuing a report, "Getting Back on Track: Climate Change and State Transportation Policy," which ranks the 50 United States (we still can use the plural, can't we?) on green transportation.  In the NRDC/SMA evaluation, points are awarded in three areas:

1.  Infrastructure policies.  Namely, how difficult do states make land use and related policies for a car-oriented culture.

2.  Investment decisions.  In short, how much State-coerced taxpayer money is spent on "smart growth" and public transportation boondoogles.

3.  "Touchstone" policies.  These are described as policies which "show the depth of a state's intention to reduce transportation sector emissions."  The key word here is intention; or, more bluntly, how inclined are these provincial rubes in the statehouses and bureaucracies prepared to follow our lead.

As a result, it should come as no surprise that those states which get the best scores are the same which have some of the highest budget deficits and worst economies (e.g. top-ranked California, Maryland, and New Jersey) and the lowest scorers are those with manageable state government fiscal problems and better economies (e.g. western, midwestern, and southern states).

Here are just a few of the strategies these green totalitarians want the several states to embrace:

- By 2020, lower fares by 25% in public transit except where systems are already at capacity.
- Road weather management fully deployed on freeways by 2030.
- School curriculums include safe cycling skills for children.

- New or fully-reconstructed streets in denser neighborhoods (>4,000 persons/sq mi and business districts)
incorporate traffic calming measures such as bulb-outs and median refuges to shorten street-crossing distances

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