Puget Sound Transportation Plan Fails to Meet Climate Targets

Agency staff says the Puget Sound regional long-range plan won’t achieve 2030 sustainability goals set by the state.

2 minute read

December 6, 2022, 10:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

The recently adopted Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) long range transportation plan won’t do enough to meet the region’s 2030 climate goals, reports Ryan Packer for The Urbanist. This is according to a report from the Council’s own staff, which revealed “a projected 13% gap between anticipated emissions and the goal of reaching a 50% reduction of the region’s 1990 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, even with the help of numerous newly adopted statewide climate policies.”

Packer outlines the analysis made by PSRC staff, which claims that nixing planned road expansion projects in the region would not reduce emissions because that would increase congestion, a claim labeled by The Urbanist as “myth #1 on our list of five wrong planning claims around highway expansion that are causing the US to fail to make progress on its climate goals.” The predictive models used by PSRC also claim that improving transit wouldn’t make much impact, assuming that people would continue to drive at roughly the same rate, and that the most impactful initiative would be a per-mile road charge, an action that would require legislative action at the state level.

These predictions matter because the analysis is meant to inform how federal funding is allocated.  “If the models show accelerating transit investments gets the region closer to its climate goals, there will be an effort to tilt funding in that direction.”

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