Gloria Katz, Smart Growth Partnership, 954-614-5666
Marti Daltry, Sierra Club- Ft. Myers Office, 239-313-7202
Fort Lauderdale and Fort Myers, FL – Significant conflicts exist between Florida’s transportation policies and broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions according to a new study out today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Smart Growth America (SGA). “Getting Back on Track: Climate Change and State Transportation Policy” examined transportation spending decisions and policies in all 50 states to determine what impact state decisions have on carbon emission rates.
According to this extensive, first-of-its-kind analysis, Florida’s transportation policies and spending decisions are not doing enough to reduce statewide emissions rates. This means not only that Florida is missing opportunities to protect clean air; it means we are wasting a huge economic opportunity as well.
Smart transportation spending could save money, create jobs and help rebuild the economy while curbing emissions at the same time. Adopting smart transportation strategies would help Florida attract more businesses and create more jobs out of each dollar we spend. Rebuilding the economy and creating new jobs are the most important issues of this generation and each of the transportation policies highlighted in this report can help us get there.
“Florida’s Department of Transportation needs to recognize that every decision about how we get around has huge implications for the environment and our economy,” said Marti Daltry from Sierra Club. “We need to reduce oil use, and provide transportation choices for all Floridians, especially our growing elderly population.”
“Policymakers have the power to save money, protect the environment, create more jobs for each dollar we spend, and effectively lower transportation costs at the same time, but policies need to change in order for that to happen. FDOT has been making certain policy changes, but needs to do a better job in others,” said Gloria Katz from Smart Growth Partnership.
Florida is not alone in needing to improve, and the new report calls for changes at the federal level as well. Without action at both levels of government, the United States will almost certainly fail to meet current carbon reduction goals.
“Better gas mileage and alternative fuels aren’t enough to stop carbon emissions at the rate they’re rising,” said Neha Bhatt, deputy policy director at Smart Growth America. “It’s going to take policy changes at both the state andfederal levels to achieve the emissions reductions we need. American households need the option to spend less money to get around, and these low-carbon policies help get us there too.”
Changes to federal policy could encourage states to use their transportation money more effectively. The overdue authorization of a federal transportation bill will be a key moment for leadership from the Obama Administration to reduce carbon emissions and continue to rebuild our economy.
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Sierra Club is the oldest environmental organization in the United States. Since 1892, the Sierra Club has been working to protect communities, wild places and the planet itself. Sierra Club has been engaged in numerous campaigns that deal with phosphate mining, red tide, coal mining, the Florida panther, clean energy and green transportation.
Smart Growth Partnership is a nonprofit based in South Florida whose mission is to lead, support, advocate and educate the public by promoting livable, sustainable and green communities in South Florida
Smart Growth America advocates for people who want to live and work in great neighborhoods. Smart growth solutions support thriving businesses and jobs, provide more options for how people get around and make it more affordable to live near work and the grocery store. Our coalition gives communities a fighting chance against sprawl. Together, we are making America’s neighborhoods great. Visit SmartGrowthAmerica.org to learn more.