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NY’s MTA Launches Sustainability Initiative

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is convening an 18-member sustainability commission that will seek to create a plan for reducing the agency’s ecological footprint by Earth Day 2008, The Village Voice reports.

The Sustainability Commission will develop a master set of recommendations that will help reduce the ecological footprint of MTA operations and capital programs and minimize the impact of the MTA on ecosystems in the MTA region and Northeast Corridor. The commission will cast a wide net, looking at everything from energy use and waste management to transit-oriented development and green, high-performance buildings.

Part of the commission’s mission will be to identify sustainability initiatives that have both environmental benefits and financial benefits. These financial benefits can take a number of forms, including cost savings from the use of new technologies or revenue from an agency’s green venture.

The Commission will attempt to answer a number of questions about the MTA and sustainability, including:

  • What targets and goals should be set for reducing the MTA”s ecological footprint – CO2, other greenhouse gas emissions, water, waste, consumption of materials?
  • What strategies should be employed to achieve these goals?
  • As the nation and world experiment with carbon trading or carbon taxes, what role should the MTA play and how can it capitalize on the massive carbon savings the MTA produces by operating its public transportation network?
  • What role can the MTA play in promoting smart-growth strategies and transit-oriented development?
  • How does the MTA work with its state and local partners to harmonize its sustainability agenda with the sustainability goals of the municipalities in and around its 5,000-square-mile service territory?
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