A Victory for LA's Air: LA's Transportation Agency Adopts a Green Construction Policy

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) voted earlier today to adopt a Green Construction Policy that will significantly reduce the air pollution caused by the construction of LA’s transportation system.  The policy requires that all the equipment, vehicles, and generators used to build LA’s growing transportation system meet strict clean air standards.  Read more about the policy here and here, and see Metro’s blog about it here

This is great news for LA, and especially great news for the communities living close to the many construction sites that will dot the county over the next several years and beyond as Metro builds our expanding public transit network. 

Construction equipment, vehicles, and generators run on diesel fuel, so they emit fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx), and toxic air pollutants that contribute to chronic respiratory diseases like asthma and make people more susceptible to developing certain cancers.  Because of these serious health impacts, this policy is critical to make sure that Metro’s construction activities do not contribute to this harmful pollution problem.

This policy is an example of an agency looking at its ecological footprint, taking responsibility, and making changes with creative, forward-thinking policy.  And LA now joins a growing number of cities across the country that have adopted similar policies, including Chicago, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Providence, Rhode Island.

NRDC thanks the Metro Board of Directors, and especially Metro Board Chair Mayor Villaraigosa, Metro Boardmember Director Richard Katz, the Mayor’s Transportation Deputy Borja Leon, and Metro staff for their leadership and commitment to adopting a strong policy.

But our work is not over yet.  The policy adopted today applies only to projects on Metro property and rights of way—such as the many subway lines and extensions coming our way under the 30/10 initiative.  While this is a great accomplishment, the policy does not cover the construction projects that are funded by Metro but that are administered by other entities, such as Caltrans and the cities.  Metro is working on a plan to phase-in the policy to cover these other projects, and we look forward to working with Metro to make sure this policy keeps moving forward.

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