Not many people think about the impact that construction and maintenance of highways and bridges have on our air, water and land resources. But we should.
In fact, the Clean Air Act requires local metropolitan planning organizations to consider air quality impacts when they develop their transportation plans. The Division for Air Quality (DAQ) works closely with state and federal transportation representatives on those plans to ensure minimal impact on air quality.
Today’s cars and trucks are certainly cleaner and more efficient than their 1970 counterparts, but they are still responsible for up to half of all air pollution in the U.S. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), motor vehicles are responsible for 45 percent of all volatile organic compound emissions, 50 percent of nitrogen oxides emissions, 60 percent of carbon monoxide emissions, and 50 percent of hazardous air pollutants in urban areas.
A primary goal of any transportation plan is reducing the number of vehicle miles traveled. Fewer miles traveled mean fewer emissions from all of those internal combustion engines on the road. Timed traffic signals, bike lanes, public transportation, and even sidewalks can all help reduce those vehicle miles and, in turn, improve air quality.
That’s why DAQ director John Lyons recently participated in a public survey on Kentucky’s transportation future. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KTC) is currently conducting the survey to obtain information that will go into development of their 2013 Long Range Transportation Plan Update.
“Air quality and transportation are closely linked together,” says Lyons. “But you don’t have to be an elected official, a city planner, or an air quality expert to take the survey,” says Lyons. “KTC wants to hear from all Kentuckians.”
So far, approximately 8,000 respondents have taken the survey, but Lyons thinks that number should be much higher. “There are more than 4.3 million people living in Kentucky. This is an opportunity for all of us to have a say in the future of Kentucky’s transportation system.”
The survey is available at www.transportation.ky.gov. Just click on the “Your Turn” survey link – the survey takes only minutes to complete. The survey will remain open until Feb. 25, 2013.