Monday, June 23, 2008

Don’t Buy Virginia’s Antiques Roadshow

(the following text is all courtesy of the Piedmont Environmental Council. and the Southern Environmental Law Center- bless them all)

Transportation Solutions for Today and Tomorrow
As reported in Sunday's Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial (link to follow), the "General Assembly convenes (this week) in special session to address -- once more -- its ongoing transportation dilemma."

If you are reading this, please act today to let our government representatives know that transportation planning in Virginia needs to undergo massive change. Please take just a minute of your time to contact local officials involved in these meetings now. Your voice can make a difference.

"We should build our 21st-century transportation system with vision and intelligence."
—Richmond Times Dispatch Editorial

"Too many Virginia families are facing economic stress because we failed to design our communities and transportation systems to offer alternatives to driving for every trip."
—Stewart Schwartz,Coalition for Smarter Growth
Press Release

Compare this image of traffic in Northern Virginia with the images in our banner above,
and ask yourself which you want to see in the future.

The world has changed (with $5 per gallon gas on the horizon) and our transportation priorities need to change with it —to transit, passenger & freight rail, telecommuting, walkable communities and land use policies that limit sprawl. As you read this email Virginia's transportation projects, priorities and funding are being debated during Governor Kaine's "Special Session on Transportation."

Tell me more

Tell the General Assembly that Virginia's ready for new transportation solutions.
Contact Officials

Gas Prices Cause Vehicle Miles Traveled in March to Drop 4.3%
Virginia needs a new transportation plan which takes into account rising gas prices. Estimated vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on all U.S. public roads for March 2008 fell 4.3% as compared with March 2007 travel. This is the first time estimated March travel on public roads fell since 1979.

Governor Kaine's transportation package includes more money for transit, passenger rail and freight rail, but also permits VDOT to continue to build sprawl-inducing highways like the Western Bypass in Northern Virginia and an eight lane I-81 through the Shenandoah Valley.

Tell Richmond we need a new plan
The Governor is on the right track with increased funding for transit and his new Sub-Cabinet on Community Investment, "tasked with promoting smart, sustainable growth by ensuring state funds are invested in projects that reduce suburban sprawl." However, the place to start changing priorities is with the billions of dollars we spend each year on transportation plans developed in the 80s and 90s.

The Special Session may be over tomorrow or go on for the rest of the week. Let elected officials know that Virginians are ready for new leadership and transportation solutions that are forward thinking, not backward.
Contact Officials now

contact Chris Miller, of the

Piedmont Environmental Council

(540) 347-2334

Get involved. Each of us can show our governmental representatives that these are not just issues that will matter today, but also for future generations!

Want to learn more? Download and read:

"Connections and Choices
: The High Cost of Transportation"
Transportation consumes an enormous – and rising – amount of income. The average southern household spends $7,990 per year on transportation, almost 19 cents out of every dollar spent.
(May 2008; pdf; 2 pages)

Want to read more about Virginia, the environment, and what you can do to help protect our state for future generations to come? Check out more excellent, free publications from the Southern Environmental Law Center here.