Puget Sound Transportation Plan Fails To Meet Emissions Goals

A draft regional transportation plan for the Puget Sound region does not go far enough to significantly reduce emissions and meet climate goals.

1 minute read

December 12, 2021, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Puget Sound

SEASTOCK / Shutterstock

As the Puget Sound Regional Council prepares to release its draft Regional Transportation Plan, Ryan Packer of The Urbanist argues that the plan "unfortunately does not appear to be a climate-focused document."

According to Packer, the plan falls short of meeting the emissions reductions goals set by Washington state and actually projects longer commute times and increased congestion due to population growth. The plan estimates that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on the region's roads will increase by 15 percent by 2050. Even when factoring in the agency's "Four Part Greenhouse Strategy," the model only shows a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gases, far less than the state's proposed 95 percent reduction. A PSRC official told The Urbanist that the projection took a "fairly conservative" approach, and that a proposed road usage charge could have an impact on roadway demand and VMT.

Local officials urged the agency to deliver a plan that achieves higher reductions, even if its implementation might be unrealistic in the short term. Packer quotes Burien Councilmember Nancy Tosta as saying, "PSRC has to provide the leadership that contributes to us being able to accomplish some of these climate action goals that we’re laying out in our local jurisdictions."

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