Catoorgtestimonyct ro20090707html transit is not

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Unformatted text preview: tedly continue. It’s easy to see why — home prices in Palmdale are more than half of those in L.A., and high-speed rail could make getting downtown as quick and easy as living downtown. Pushing people further into the exurbs runs counter to a major goal of high-speed rail, namely cutting our carbon output while creating denser, more sustainable communities. 5|Page Mass Transit Negative BDL Answers to: Air Pollution Add-on [____] [____] Mass transit results in more, not less emissions Randal O’Toole, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, 2009 (Congressional Testimony, “On Transit and Climate”, Transit Is Not Significantly Cleaner than Driving Even if more subsidies to transit could attract significant numbers of people out of their cars, it would not save energy or reduce greenhouse gas emissions because transit uses as much energy and generates nearly as much greenhouse gas per passenger mile as urban driving. As described in my Cato Institute Policy Analysis no. 615 (, the following data are based on the Department of Energy's Transportation Energy Data Book, the Federal Transit Administration's National Transit Database, and the Federal Highway Administration's Highway Statistics. In 2006, the nation's transit systems used an average of 3,444 BTUs and emitted 213 grams of CO2 per passenger mile. The average passenger car used 3,445 BTUs—just 1 BTU more—and emitted 245 grams of COsup>2 per passenger mile, just 15 percent more. While transit appears slightly cleaner than aut os, as shown in figure three, auto and light truck energy efficiencies have rapidly improved, while transit energy efficiencies have declined. Since CO2 emissions are proportional to energy consumption, these trends hold for greenhouse gas production as we ll. We can expect these trends to continue. If auto manufacturers meet the Obama administration's new fuel-economy standards for 2016—even if they fail to improve energy efficiencies beyond that—by 2025 the average car on the road will consume only 2,600 BTUs and emit only about 186 grams of CO2 per passenger mile—considerably less than most transit systems (figure four). This rapid improvement is possible because America's auto fleet almost completely turns over every 18 years. By comparison, cities that invest in rail transit are stuck with the technology they choose for at least 30 years. This means potential investments in transit must be compared, not with today's cars, but with cars 15 to 20 years from now. In much of the country, the fossil-fuelburning plants used to generate electricity for rail transit emit enormous amounts of greenhouse gases. Washington's Metrorail system, for example, generates more than 280 grams of CO2 per passenger mile— considerably more than the average passenger car. Lightrail systems in Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh all emit more greenhouse gases per...
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