ACTION ALERT: Demand climate action from your local elected officials

city street at night from ground level with buildings in the background and red streaks of passing vehicle lights
Photo by Bradley Joines, Flickr

Transportation is the #1 source of our regional greenhouse gas emissions, and we have just 8 years to slash those emissions. Yet, our local and state elected officials who sit on the regional Transportation Planning Board (TPB), are not taking the urgent – and feasible – steps necessary to reduce emissions from our region’s transportation system. They need to hear from you! 

Due to our pressure, TPB conducted a study last year which definitively showed the strategies needed to lower greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks to meet the region’s climate targets. Two key findings:

  1. We must rapidly transition to electric vehicles – but that won’t cut climate pollution enough.
  2. Therefore, we must also shift more trips to transit, biking and walking, and reduce the need to drive – doing so through walkable, transit-oriented communities, reduced outward sprawl, and more housing near transit. 

While some TPB officials support reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) through smarter growth, others don’t want to stop business-as-usual highway expansion and auto-dependent sprawl. Our just released study “On the Wrong Road” shows Loudoun and Prince William Counties would increase lane miles of arterial highways and miles of driving on them significantly faster than their rates of population growth.  TPB’s just released proposed long-range transportation plan, Visualize 2045, makes no progress in reducing car dependence and climate emissions since the last plan they adopted four years ago. TPB’s latest plan would reduce greenhouse gas emissions only 18% below 2005 levels by 2045, at which point we need to be approaching 80-100% reductions. 

Take action now for our children and grandchildren

Tell your local officials and other TPB members they must act now, with this transportation plan by: 

  • Setting specific targets in Visualize 2045 for shifting travel to transit, walking and biking; reducing per capita car vehicle miles traveled; and transitioning to electric vehicles
  • Committing to these key priorities that TPB’s climate study shows are essential:
    • Walkable, transit-oriented land use and reducing auto-dependent sprawl
    • Shifting funding to transit, biking, walking, safer complete streets, and affordable housing near transit
    • Pricing parking and major roads, and making commuter benefits equal for those who walk, bike and use transitInvesting in electric vehicle infrastructure and programs, ensuring equitable access, including charging stations in multifamily housing

The latest United Nations report makes it clearer than ever that we need action now and that electric vehicles won’t be enough – we also need a future that’s less car-dependent. Our local elected officials who make both land use and transportation decisions have the power to approve land use and transportation plans that will reduce emissions. Urge them to act now before it’s too late!