Monday, December 13, 2010

Florida DOT 2060 Transportation Plan Needs to Move Forward Now for Green Transportation



Recently the Florida Department of Transportation unveiled their 2060 Transportation Plan designed to address the growing transportation needs of the Sunshine State and Floridians were invited to submit comments. The 2060 Plan identified long range trends and their attendant challenges, outlined their areas of focus; economic competitiveness, community livability and environmental stewardship and six major goals; investment of transportation systems to support a prosperous, globally competitive economy, make transportation decisions to support and enhance livable communities, make transportation decisions to promote responsible environmental stewardship, provide a safe and secure transportation system, maintain and operate Florida’s transportation system proactively and improve mobility and connectivity for people and freight.

While these goals are noteworthy, the plan failed to define specific strategies and a deadline for implementation. We can’t wait fifty years for a better, greener transportation system in Florida. The transportation sector is the second-largest contributor to Florida’s gross greenhouse gas emissions. If we want to reduce global warming, we need to work now not later to reduce these emissions. The Governor’s Florida’s Energy and Climate Change Action Plan recommends a set of seven policies that offer the potential for major economic benefits and emission decreases. The Florida 2060 Transportation Plan should be aligned with this plan.

In 2011, a huge wave of baby boomers will be turning 65 years of age and that means more new retirees moving to The Sunshine State.  With this growth will come more vehicular traffic, more highway congestion and more pollution; pollution that will impact the health of our residents as well as the health of our environment.

Green transportation alternatives like public transit, carpooling, bicycling or walking instead of hopping into the car for every small errand are doable but many Florida residents do not take advantage of these opportunities.  Many people including seniors, would prefer to use alternative forms of transportation but are not familiar or comfortable with green transportation options.

If people are ready to try greener transportation alternatives in getting around Florida, here’s one easy way to get started. I am challenging Floridians to give their cars a vacation this holiday season and take the bus for one day in December. Get a group of friends together and take the bus to your favorite mall for lunch and shopping. You may find the experience so much fun that using public transit becomes a part of your regular routine.  I am interested in hearing about your bus adventure (good or bad) so I can post it on the Sierra Club Florida News. Please email me your experiences at Marti.Daltry@sierraclub.org

Submitted by Marti Daltry, Conservation  Organizer, Sierra Club – Ft. Myers Office

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