The Value of Sustainability

Aug. 2, 2011

Day one of the APTA Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop held in Los Angeles, Calif., provided insight on common trends in sustainability, shared challenges and new solutions that are making a difference in the industry.

APTA President William Millar said, “We need to keep pushing that investment in transit is just that, investment, it’s not spending.” With Washington being “a bigger zoo than usual,” it’s only going to get worse as everyone will be trying to push their programs and agendas through with all of the cuts, he said.

King County Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond, also the APTA chair for the Sustainability Committee, said the workshop is about how the value of sustainability is being measured and delivered. “It’s not enough to just believe in it, there needs to be some substance behind that.”

Romel Pascual, deputy Mayor for the Environment, city of Los Angeles, said sustainability is a world issue, but much of the action is at the local level. He stressed, “Transportation is always at the cutting edge of sustainability environmental justice.”

Information provided by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority illustrated the urban renaissance new investment in transportation is creating in LA. Information on completed initiatives are available for download at

The Federal Transit Administration Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan addressed attendees saying sustainability demands forward thinking. She said few sectors have the commitment that transit has to sustainability.

McMillan said the path we’re on as a nation with growing congestion, increased sprawl and the growing dependence on oil are economically, socially and politically unsustainable. “The cognitive change this will need is transformational with government relationships and working with our partners.”

She also said we can leverage sustainable practices as they’re good for the environment and good for the bottom line; they are good economic investments. One session that illustrated that point was Sustainable Business Practices and Sustainable Organizations and you can read more on that session HERE.

Stay tuned for more info from APTA’s Sustainability Workshop!