Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gaming the System for Roads

EPA is basically worthless in light of this:

City transportation planners changed data that essentially took one in three cars off the road, enabling them to show less pollution. They also have made overly optimistic forecasts about how often people would use mass transit.

And despite evidence that building more highways causes people to drive farther, the city has told the EPA the opposite: Building billions of dollars of new highways will cause Charlotteans to drive less, and create less smog, than if they weren't built.

Not that it doesn't tell us something we already knew. Non attainment is a joke and all regions are going to continue to build more roads and game the system with the main goal of "reducing congestion" so they can say that they reduced pollution. But what they are really doing is increasing growth on the periphery which increases VMT at a higher rate than technology can reduce the emissions. It's not rocket science to know that building roads leads more people to drive.
But in Charlotte, some of the improvements from cleaner vehicles have been offset by the region's population growth and an increase in how many miles the average Charlottean drives. Vehicles account for up to 70 percent of Mecklenburg's ozone-causing pollutants, according to a county estimate.
70%! They also got a pass because the figured they would have three rapid transit lines by now instead of one. So it's kind of funny that the environmental process for transit makes building the lines slower when roads can run free until they hit non-attainment, even though those transit lines would let them go further faster.

1 comment:

Matt Fisher said...

This sounds insane. What makes them really think that new freeways will reduce traffic = pollution? Do they think about the hydrogen car ex-pResident Bush promised...well, after Obama's first term? :)

(The last thing was a bit of a joke on my part. The reason I capitalized the "r" instead of the "p" in "President" is because Bush was appointed to the position by the Supreme Court after the Florida recount was ended by his dad's right wing appointees and Reagan's right wing appointees.)