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On June 24, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act of 2009 which gave up to $4,500 to owners of vehicles with poor fuel economy who trade them in for more efficient new vehicles. This "cash-for-clunkers" program was touted as meeting three objectives: increasing vehicle sales, at a time when the U.S. auto industry is struggling; reducing fuel use; and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This column examines the workings of the program as well as describes what kinds of vehicles can be turned in and purchased under it. The column then assesses how well the program meets its stated objectives. In conclusion, the authors found that the program will chiefly benefit the vehicle manufacturers as there is such a narrow differential in mileage between traded-in and new vehicles eligible for credit that the resulting reductions in fuel usage and GHG emissions will be modest. In addition to this, they found that the energy cost of building new vehicles must be factored into the equation as the carbon dioxide payback time for manufacturing vehicles can take several years. Lastly, the column points out that the program greatly affects income distribution as it encourages old cars to be crushed and shredded, thus reducing the supply of old cars and presumably raising the price of those that remain, in turn hurting lower income people.
"Ohioans spend a large amount of money on energy. In 2010, we spent $45 billion, nearly 10 percent of our state’s gross domestic product. Nearly half of those energy dollars (or more than $20 billion) was spent to fuel cars, trucks, and buses, and nearly all of which left the state or country in order to import oil. Ohio can reduce its dependence on imported oil by promoting electric vehicles (EVs) and buses, as well as passenger and freight rail. Several Ohio communities, including Oberlin, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Cuyahoga Falls are using municipal aggregation and municipal utility power to increase use of local clean energy, thus keeping energy dollars local."
Equitable mobility pilot projects should center the voices usually left out of decision-making through a community-driven process. Equitable mobility pilot projects must also address entrenched injustices by providing the following benefits to low-income communities of color in a way that is meaningful, direct, and assured: (1) Increased access to affordable, efficient, safe, reliable mobility options; (2) Reduced air pollution; (3) Enhanced economic opportunities. Historically, transportation investments and plans have not met the mobility needs of low-income people of color because decisions have been made behind closed doors without community input. This has resulted in these communities suffering from disproportionate levels of transportation-related pollution and longer and less reliable commutes. A lack of good mobility options limits low-income people's ability to raise themselves out of poverty. Today, low-income people of color often face financial, technological, physical, or cultural, barriers to accessing shared mobility services (i.e. bikeshare, scooter share, Uber, carshare, etc.). Some of these mobility services have also be shown to compete with public transit ridership and utilize unfair labor practices, both of which harm people of color.
American Sustainable Business Council Supports the Green New Deal. The Green New Deal modernize America's water, transportation, and energy infrastructure. If the government provides clear criteria and goal-oriented incentives, the market will response and create sustainable growth.
The U.S. has seen tremendous growth in shared-use mobility services over the past decade. This expansion, however, has not reached underserved communities. Low-income households could greatly benefit from the cost-savings of sharing otherwise underused assets, as these communities lack sufficient access to public transit and “first-last mile” solutions. The Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) interviewed carsharing company experts with experience serving low-income communities, an insurance industry expert with substantial experience working with carsharing companies, and leaders of community-based organizations (CBOs). These entities brought unique insight in identifying best practices that can be encouraged through government regulations. These recommendations can guide program design and are summarized at the end of this report. Interviewees helped inform four major policy areas: (1) outreach; (2) infrastructure; (3) insurance; and (4) credit/payment. Interviewees offered their expert opinions and recommendations for how to successfully implement low-income carsharing programs.
This annual survey describes new environmental laws that were signed into law in 2010 in New York, as well as two executive orders issued by Governor David A. Paterson and important new regulations from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation concerning endangered and threatened species. The new laws discussed in this survey include the following topics: Air Quality, Brownfields, Endangered Species, Energy, Emissions/Climate Change, Green Jobs, Hazardous Substances, Land Use, Pesticides, Public Health, Recycling, State Environmental Quality Review Act, Solid Waste, Transportation, Wetlands, and Wildlife.
Identifying sustainable solutions for water distribution and lower water utility rates within the Village of Robbins, a primarily low-income and African-American community struggling with municipal debt. Nationally, and counterintuitively, per-gallon water bills in low-income communities are on the rise, largely due to decreased water sales resulting from local population decreases based on lack of local opportunity. With fewer people, each household must pay more to maintain the same infrastructure. Per-gallon charges are greater because the base cost of water is not the largest cost to the consumer. Further, legacy infrastructure nearing the end of its service life coupled with historically low levels of investment in infrastructure inflates costs of water service. The resultant water bill increases create issues of consumer unaffordability or an inability to pay, citywide water shut-offs, and even evictions or foreclosures due to unpaid bills. Possible measures to counteract these problems in the Village of Robbins include: (1) contracting with a firm that specializes in water/utility pricing; (2) accessing Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) to help fund community solar power system to improve water distribution efficiency and decrease costs; (3) installing water meters; (4) improving maintenance.
As opposed to conventional data and metrics, this report uses newer data sources and more advanced analytic tools to study Sacramento’s transportation system. In particular, this report utilizes accessibility metrics to identify locations with poor connections to existing transit, explain people’s travel behavior in those places, and evaluate possible improvements at key locations.
Transit is a powerful force for facilitating employment density and therefore, reaping the benefits of firms and people clustering together in cities. In order to counter the rising trend towards job sprawl (which holds important equity implications), policy makers at the local and regional levels are posing transit as a central mechanism for concentrating future employment growth in higher density, more accessible districts. This report explores how industries vary in their proclivity to locate in higher density, transit-served locations and assesses which industries have experienced recent growth near transit in absolute numbers. The outcome of this analysis is a better understanding of the types of industries that may have a greater propensity to be transit-oriented.
Freight Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies help to increase overall transportation system efficiency by shifting the routes, travel times, operational characteristics, or transportation modes used to move goods. These strategies present more sustainable, cost-effective alternatives to increasing capacity on congested highways and roads that offer health, safety, environmental, and livability benefits as well. This report looks at the costs of transporting freight by highway and railroad, the costs allocated to shippers, taxpayers, and society, what and where freight TDM activities are being implemented, and how local governments can effectively implement freight TDM strategies.