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The MTA will observe Earth Day (April 22nd) by stocking MetroCard vending machines with five million limited-edition green MetroCards. The cards aren’t “green” in the eco-friendly sense – they’re still not made from recycled material – they’re just, you know, green colored. So they’ve got that going for them. Oh, and some environmental factoids will be printed on the back.

Governor David Paterson joined MTA officials at Grand Central Terminal yesterday morning for a press conference announcing the festive new MetroCards, as well as some renewable energy initiatives that will go into effect over the next few years.

  • The MTA has committed to draw 7 percent of its energy needs from solar, wind, and other renewable sources by 2015.
  • A substantial portion of the Roosevelt Island Subway Station will be powered by renewable tidal energy generated in the East River by Verdant Power.
  • 6 megawatts of solar power will be developed at MTA facilities to create the largest solar power project in New York history.
  • The MTA will examine the feasibility of providing 14% of the power at the MTA Bus Company Far Rockaway Depot from wind turbines.
  • The MTA is planning high-performance roofs at many facilities, including vegetated green roofs.
  • NYC Transit will evaluate ways to utilize water harvested from the subway system for various beneficial uses, such as cooling of some transformers.

It’s a baby step in the right direction, but compared to the ambitious goals of Bloomberg’s foundered congestion pricing plan, one can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed. (Hizzoner was conspicuously absent from yesterday’s event.) Still, the promise of "utilizing water" in the subway is exciting – could a hybrid L flume line be on the horizon?