Governor Moves Virginia Tranportation in a Greener Direction

RICHMOND, Virginia, November 1, 2010 (ENS) – Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has directed the Commonwealth’s six transportation agencies to pursue sustainable practices in their day to day operations and long-term planning.

Announcing the Going Green with Virginia Transportation program on Thursday, Governor McDonnell said the initiative is designed to increase the environmental focus of the Commonwealth’s transportation agencies, achieve cost-savings and provide current information to the public on transportation-related environmental programs.

Governor McDonnell, a Republican, said, “The environmental impact of transportation is significant and it can be lessened by utilizing a variety of new technologies, practices and research. Each of our transportation agencies will be actively involved in and committed to this initiative.”

“This initiative is part of our ‘all the above’ approach to making Virginia energy independent, as well as encouraging our agencies to be more conscious of the environmental impact of their operations,” the governor said.

He said the program is consistent with the cost-saving recommendations made by the Governor’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring, including a proposal to reduce spending and fuel consumption by increasing telecommuting within state agencies.

In an effort to increase its green practices, the Virginia Transportation Secretariat will pursue a goal of not less than 20 percent of its eligible workforce telecommuting. Currently 93 percent of Department of Motor Vehicles eligible employees participate in a telecommuting schedule.

Traffic jam on U.S. Route 50 at the Seven Corners Shopping Center in Falls Church, Virginia. (Photo by Mississippi Snopes)

“We intend to develop a comprehensive program to reduce our energy consumption and limit our impact on the environment” said Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton. “This will save money, make our programs more efficient, and reduce our environmental footprint. We welcome public input on ways we can achieve these goals.”

Virginia’s six transportation agencies will also actively seek to reduce waste and recycle, increase the use of renewable materials, purchase or lease only Energy Star rated appliances and equipment, when available, and cecrease energy consumption by at least five percent for Fiscal Year 2012.

In addition, the agencies will procure only diesel fuel that contains, at a minimum, two percent, by volume, biodiesel or green diesel fuel.

The Department of Motor Vehicles has begun an automated renewal program for license tags, with over 100,000 Virginians enrolling to receive their decal renewal notices electronically or by phone, eliminating the printing and mailing of paper notices.

Each piece of snail mail not processed by DMV saves 59 cents in printing, processing and postage costs. The annual cost of printing and mailing approximately 5.3 million paper renewal notices to all customers is $2.4 million.

The DMV is providing fuel efficient transport and green driving tips as well as information about recycling vehicle parts and fluids online at: www.dmvNOW.com.

To reduce driver miles, the state will web-stream video of transportation-related board and commission meetings held at DMV headquarters, improving access to government while reducing commuting costs and other environmental impacts, Cannaughton said.

Virginia has converted its diesel powered vehicles at Virginia Ports to electric power, including cranes, straddle carriers and locomotives. Over 20 percent of the Port’s cargo handling equipment now employs electric or clean diesel technology.

The Department of Aviation is implementing Project Green Cockpit, in which paper copies of airport directories, instrument approach charts and sectional charts, which are updated every 56 days, are being replaced with tablet computers, which contain the information electronically. The agency says this move could potentially reduce paper use by 325 bound volumes and 80 charts per year.

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