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February 28, 2012

Nominate the Best and Worst Transportation Projects!

Market-st-sfThe Sierra Club is looking for your nominations for the best and worst transportation projects in the country.
Ten years ago, the Sierra Club published a report, called "Smart Choices, Less Traffic" (PDF), that took a critical look at 49 projects across the country to determine whether they were headed in the right direction for the 21st century.  Much has changed since the original report came out, but as gas prices rise we continue to make many of the same poor decisions that keep us addicted to oil instead of investing in smart transportation choices.
Now, ten years later, we’re taking another look at the best and worst transportation projects in the country.
By showing examples of the best and worst projects, our 2012 report will help the public understand how their tax dollars are being spent while underscoring the kinds of transportation investments that move us into the 21st century. The money we spend on transportation has the power to keep us stuck at the pump instead of saving money while enjoying other transportation options.

Help us ignite discussions at the local and national level about our transportation priorities by nominating a project today.
Here’s a closer look at examples of some of the best and worst from the 2002 report:

Among the Best: The Denver Union Station was dubbed one of our country’s best national transportation projects because it will connect different forms of transportation and incorporate mixed use development, including retail, office and residential space. This 18.5 acre project is currently under construction and will serve the city’s FasTrack light rail system and connect its users to bus systems, regional rail, taxis, shuttles and bicycle and pedestrian options.

Among the Worst: Louisiana Highway 3241, also known as I-12 to Bush, won top national honors for being a needless highway. This four-lane, 20-mile monstrosity would connect Bush to Interstate 12 near Covington. Instead of improving existing roadways that already connect these areas or providing transit, this needless project would destroy 382 acres of wetlands and affect local wildlife and recreational opportunities. The future of Louisiana Highway 3241 now hinges on the outcome of the final Environmental Impact Statement, which is due out in March. Back in 2002 work had just begun to figure out why this highway is needed.

Today, 23 years after it was first passed as part of a statewide highway appropriation bill, we continue to waste money and time on Louisiana highway 3241, a terrible project that will only help keep Louisiana addicted to oil.

Now, in 2012, we want to know what is going on in your town.  Between now and March 16th, we’re taking nominations on transportation projects - from urban to rural, freight to pedestrian and everything in between- that either help move us forward or keep us stuck on fossil fuel. We are looking for projects that are still in their planning stages or under construction and will consider some recently completed ones.  If selected, your project will win the bragging rights of being either the best or the worst transportation project in the country. 
Help us champion the need for transportation choices by highlighting what we have done right and what we need to change. Nominate a project today!

--Clara Elias, Sierra Club Green Transportation Campaign Intern


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