2007_09_greenroof.jpgThe MTA announced today that it has formed a Sustainability Commission to create a "sustainability master plan" by Earth Day of next year. MTA Executive Director Elliot Sander said, "The MTA’s public transportation network makes the entire New York region sustainable, but in the era of climate change we have a responsibility to go even further. The commission will build on the exciting green initiatives we’ve already completed to make sustainability a permanent part of the MTA’s DNA.”

According to the press release, the 18-person commission (see who the members are after the jump; it includes people from environmental organizations and city agencies) will ask questions like:

  • What targets and goals should be set for reducing the MTA's ecological footprint – CO2, other greenhouse gas emissions, water, waste, consumption of materials? And what strategies should be employed to achieve these goals?
  • As the nation and world experiment with carbon trading or carbon taxes, what role should the MTA play and how can it capitalize on the massive carbon savings the MTA produces by operating its public transportation network?
  • What role can the MTA play in promoting smart-growth strategies and transit-oriented development?
  • How does the MTA work with its state and local partners to harmonize its sustainability agenda with the sustainability goals of the municipalities in and around its 5,000-square-mile service territory?

We like the idea of the MTA using its carbon savings - maybe that can be monetized for newer, more environmentally friendly vehicles!

The commission will have its first meeting on Wednesday. Environmental group Riverkeeper's president Alex Matthiessen, one of the members, suggests that ideas could include green rooftops on bus depots and buildings to absorb water during rainstorms (to prevent subway flooding) and wind power at railyards.

MTA Sustainability Commission members are:

Jonathan F. P. Rose (chair), Jonathan Rose Companies, LLC; Rohit Aggarwala, NYC Office of Long-Term Planning and
Sustainability; Julie Belaga, CT League of Conservation; Marcia Bystryn, NY League of Conservation Voters; Peter Cannito, MTA Metro-North Railroad; Cecil Corbin-Mark, WE ACT for Environmental Justice; Jonathan Drapkin, Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress; Robert Fox, Cook + Fox Architects; Emil Frankel, independent consultant; Ashok Gupta, Natural Resources Defense Council; Sarah Lansdale, Sustainable Long Island; Kevin Law, Suffolk County; Emily Lloyd, NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection; Alex Mathiessen, Riverkeeper; Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC Dept. of Transportation; Ned Sullivan, Scenic Hudson; Michael White, Long
Island Regional Planning Board; Robert Yaro, Regional Plan Association.