|While the Washington, DC region has set of a goal of reducing carbon emissions to 10 million tons by 2040, current transportation plans show emissions increasing to 26.5 million tons by then. Image: MWCOG 2013 Constrained Long-Range Plan|
If sea levels rise just one foot in the Washington, DC, area, nearly 1,700 homes could be lost. Is the region’s transportation planning agency doing enough to stop that from happening? Several environmental and smart-growth organizations in the region are saying no. Seventeen groups have signed on to a letter, being delivered today, urging the agency to take action. The comment period on the agency’s latest long-range transportation plan closes tomorrow.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments committed in 2008 to an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions below a 2005 baseline by 2050. Two years later, the agency added a goal of 20 percent reductions by 2020. But according to its own analysis, the agency’s current transportation plan doesn’t get the job done.
The chart above is from last year’s long-range plan, but the picture hasn’t changed much with this year’s additions. While three of the 11 projects MWCOG has added for 2014 are streetcars and another two are commuter rail, the list also includes a new highway to Dulles airport, an interchange, two road widenings, and the removal of bus-only lanes.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth has asked MWCOG to reopen the plan and shift “significantly more funds to key transit projects,” said CSG Director Stewart Schwartz. . . .
But officials at MWCOG say they’re on track. “Climate change goals are a broader perspective than just transportation,” said Bob Griffiths, a 38-year veteran of COG’s Department of Transportation Planning. But even for transportation, they’re “well under” their target levels of ozone and nitrogen oxides, “now and into the future.” . . .Click here for the complete article.
More importantly, click on the link in the above graphic and see the full 24-page MWCOG CLRP presentation. Among other things, it highlights the very small move away from automobile use in the WDC area (with walking and biking be the big gainers) as public transit lags. One conclusion: 71% more lane miles of congestion in 2040 in the morning rush hour!
NOTE: There is NO link between the hypothesized one foot rise in sea water and the results of this one-page MWCOG description of CO2 emissions. That's a little disingenuous, especially if CAFE fuel standards enable the reduction of CO2 as stated in the MWCOG report.
Here's a graphic with an overall picture comparing current and future transportation demand by mode in our area: