N.Y. MTA report: transit investment promotes economy, environment

Posted on January 9, 2009

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) Blue Ribbon Commission on Sustainability and the MTA released a synopsis of its final report on strategies that the transit agency and government officials can use to reduce the MTA region's environmental impact.

The report, which provides a model for urban and suburban regions across the nation, quantifies the environmental benefits of mass transit and includes nearly 100 recommendations for strategies and technologies to reduce the MTA region's carbon footprint, while generating long-term savings and economic growth.

The report was presented by Jonathan F.P. Rose, chairman of the Sustainability Commission, to MTA Executive Director and CEO Elliot G. Sander.

Among its many transformational recommendations, the report calls for the MTA to draw 80 percent of its operating energy from clean, renewable energy sources by 2050 and suggests ways this should be done. It also urges a significant expansion of transit access in order for the MTA to reach and absorb two-thirds of the New York metropolitan area's projected growth of 4 million people between now and 2030.

Initial assessment of the report's recommendations indicates a possible yield of 105,500 net new jobs per year, employment income of $5.1 billion a year, and regional economic output of fully $17 billion per year for the period from 2010 to 2019.

"Everything the MTA does – providing 8.5 million rides each day, increasing ridership by nearly 50 percent since 1996, achieving record breaking on-time performance and mechanical reliability, pulling off innovations like MetroCard, EZ Pass, and hybrid electric and clean diesel buses, and passing the test virtually every rush hour – contributes to environmental sustainability.," said MTA's Sander.  "As the Federal government considers economic stimulus legislation and the upcoming T4 transportation reauthorization, it needs to recognize the enormous benefits that transit provides in terms of environmental sustainability and economic growth."

"As the largest public transportation system in North America and one of the biggest in the world, MTA's actions will serve as a model for how we as a nation can reduce our carbon footprint and achieve energy independence," said APTA President William W. Millar.

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