Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Take the challenge--take the bus for a day in December!

News-Press Op Ed: State must move now on green transportation
Any delays will make our problems worse
News-Press Dec. 14, 2010

By Marti Daltry. conservation organizer for the
Sierra Club,
(Fort Myers Office, 1415 Dean Street,Fort Myers, FL 3390; 313-7202)

Recently the Florida Department of Transportation
unveiled its 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, and outlined areas of
focus: economic competitiveness, community
livability and environmental stewardship, and six
major goals:

- Investment of transportation systems to
support a prosperous, globally competitive

- Make transportation decisions to support
and enhance livable communities

- Make transportation decisions to promote
responsible environmental stewardship

- Provide a safe and secure transportation

- 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 50 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

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 and that means more new retirees
moving to Southwest Florida. 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 such as public
transit, carpooling, bicycling or walking instead of
hopping into the car for every small errand are
doable, but many Southwest Florida residents do
not take advantage of these opportunities. Many,
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 alternatives, here's one
easy way to get started: I am challenging Southwest
Floridians to give their cars a vacation this holiday
season and take the bus for one day in December.

Perhaps, get a group of friends together and take
LeeTran to your favorite mall for lunch and

For information on planning your trip, go to the
LeeTran Trip Planner. All you need to do is supply your departure address, the time you plan to depart and your destination. The trip planner will provide you
with all the pertinent information you need. Come
try LeeTran and let them do the driving while you
relax! See you on the bus!

Note: Send Marti (marti.daltry@sierraclub.org) an account of your bus experience and she'll post it on the Sierra Club Florida News blog.

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