Oregonians hold onto your Astons! Your state senate has passed a bill, SB 1059, that seeks to reduce ground transportation-related GHG emissions 75% relative to 1990, by 2050, in the state’s six major (by Oregon standards) metro areas.
The bill largely sets process in motion, mandating a “toolkit” of useful measures, whatever that is, to be developed by the Department ofTransportation and the Department of Land Conservation and Development, as well as planning guidelines, and leaving details up to the Big Six. The Oregonian foresees the tool kit as containing–among other things–mass transit (Oregon must not be aware that this is one of the least cost-effective ways to reduce GHG emissions), denser development mixing the residential and the commercial, and traffic light timing (hallelujah!).
These goals will be all the harder to achieve if the US population grows as projected. Now 308 million (Census), the US is expected to reach nearly 440 million by 2050 due largely to mass immigration (Pew Research Center, 2008).
Of all the major energy use sectors of the economy, GHG reduction is most difficult in the transportation sector. Nonetheless, if the Beaver State succeeds in encouraging greater density of development, that would probably have lasting benefits, improving air quality, and protecting farmland from development, according to Sen. Alan Bates (D-Ashland), and probably painlessly reducing VMT. But watch out for legislators who want to stuff you into a Pelosimobile or tax your VMT.
The bill was unanimously opposed by Senate Republicans. Now it must be approved by the Oregon House.