Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Clean-air efforts in area rated weak

Public transit shorted, Sierra Club says

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati has received a failing grade for its efforts to clear the air by spending money for public transportation.

        In a Sierra Club report released Tuesday, the Cincinnati area received an F for the amount of smog from cars and trucks per person, as well as an F for the amount of spending on public transit versus highways per person.

        In Greater Cincinnati, the report says, 103 pounds of smog from cars and trucks is created per person per year (12th worst in the nation) and 29 percent of smog is from cars and trucks.

        Although most of America's 50 largest cities got failing grades for failing to reduce car and truck smog, the report says those who invested in public transportation suffered from less automobile pollution per person.

        New York State was the only state that received an A grade for transit versus highway expenditures. New York spent $128 per city resident for transit for every $100 spent on highways per person. In the same category, Ohio spent $20.80 and Kentucky spent $10 per resident for transit for every $100 of highway spending, earning both states F grades.

        “If Cincinnati invests in public transportation, clean air will come,” said Glen Brand, the Sierra Club's Midwest Associate Representative in Cincinnati. “Nationally, cities that invested more in public transportation reduced their car and truck smog. Although cars are polluting less per mile, suburban sprawl forces Americans to drive further just to pick up milk or take their kids to soccer.

        “If we give Americans more transportation choices, we drive less and breathe cleaner air.”


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