National public transportation and sustainability leaders to converge in Seattle

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National leaders in public transportation and environmental sustainability will gather in Seattle from July 29-31, 2007 as King County Metro and Sound Transit co-host the American Public Transportation Association’s third annual Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop.

The conference is the premier event on best practices in sustainable public transportation. Attendees will gather at Seattle’s Grand Hyatt Hotel to attend seminars on how public transportation can lessen environmental impacts; promote sustainable land use strategies; and other topics that show public transportation as an industry leading the fight against global warming.

“King County and Sound Transit have been at the forefront of our region’s efforts to promote livable, sustainable communities,” said King County Executive and Sound Transit Board member Ron Sims. “Slowing the pace of global warming and finding strategies to reduce or eliminate other environmental damage will be the biggest challenge of this century. Public transportation will play a critical role in meeting that challenge.”

Scheduled speakers include Sims, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, as well as Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl and Metro Transit General manager Kevin Desmond. U.S. Representative Jay Inslee, (D-Wash.) will be the keynote speaker for the opening reception on Sunday, July 29th at 6p.m.

“As a ferry rider from Bainbridge Island, I know firsthand that Washington state is a leader on public transportation. I’m proud of our area’s new transit initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and I think that Seattle is a fitting location for APTA’s sustainability conference.”

Opportunities being offered to conference attendees include: touring Sound Transit’s Link light rail construction to learn about its sustainable features; riding the Sounder commuter rail; touring King County’s new LEED certified Transit Communications and Control Center; riding a Washington State ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island; and visiting the Imperial Renewables biodiesel plant.

“We’re pleased to be in Seattle since this region has a long-time reputation for leadership in sustainability issues,” said APTA President William W. Millar. “In particular, the Puget Sound transit systems are viewed as nationally recognized leaders in the sustainability field.”

Seattle is well suited to host this national conference devoted to exploring sustainable public transportation solutions. King County Metro, which provides over 100 million passenger trips a year, is recognized as being one of the greenest transit agencies in North America. It operates the largest vanpool program and articulated hybrid bus fleet in the nation and powers that fleet with a 20 percent blend of biodiesel. It’s also the first transit agency in the nation to join the Chicago Climate Exchange, North America’s only voluntary carbon reduction and trading system.

Sound Transit has been incorporating sustainable features into its light rail, commuter rail, express bus and HOV improvements throughout the central Puget Sound region. It recently bolstered its commitment to being an environmental leader by launching a comprehensive and ambitious Sustainability Initiative that integrates sustainable business practices throughout the organization. It addresses a broad range of topics from design to operations, including fuel use, energy and water conservation, low-impact development, green purchasing, waste prevention, and more.

APTA has designed the conference with a broad range of topics that can benefit anyone with an interest in sustainability. Transit board members and transit system chief executive officers are encouraged to attend, as well as professionals in planning, operations, engineering and capital construction, individuals who promote sustainable development and livable communities, and suppliers and consultants interested in providing "green" services.

Public registration for the conference is available through the APTA website at http://www.apta.com/conferences_calendar/sustainable/ or by calling the APTA offices in Washington, DC at (202) 496-4800.

 

 

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Sound Transit’s regional network of express buses, commuter rail, light rail and transit facilities connects communities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.