The Federal Transit Administration has launched a new website for Earth Day (this Sunday), showcasing the agency’s efforts for livability and clean energy. It’s all good Earth Day reading, but what stands out is this useful map of sustainable transportation projects.
They note that the map is just a “selection” of federally-funded projects, so don’t get worked up if there’s one missing from your area. Still, three things stand out for me:
- The geographical breadth of the projects. Bill Shuster, Number Two on the House Transportation Committee, told Politico that opposition from “suburban/urban guys” in the House kept the committee from stripping transit funding out of the bill. But this is not a map of the biggest metropolises in the country. Example: Ackerman, Mississippi (population: 1,510) bought three transit buses to provide better transportation to nearby colleges for students living on the Choctaw reservation.
- A lot of those rural projects are on Indian reservations. The FTA has a special pot of funding for federally-recognized tribes. It’s not much, but by the looks of this map, the agency makes $15 million go a long way.
- The focus on cleaner fuels. The projects the FTA is highlighting in this map are generally electric or natural gas-fueled transit operations. Considering that mass transit is Earth-friendly by its very nature, the FTA’s focus on cleaner fuels is above and beyond the call of duty. Of course, some “clean fuels” aren’t so clean — coal-fired power plants make sure electricity is still dirty, and natural gas fracking poisons drinking water and makes animals sick.
Not to end on a downer: This is a great map! Hooray for green transit! Happy Earth Day!