By Maggie de la Vega
The Blue Ribbon Commission on Sustainability and the MTA recently released their report: Greening Mass Transit & Metro Regions. The report calls for transportation development and expansion of the entire MTA network. It includes recommendations divided into six sections that focus on key areas of sustainability: Energy/Carbon, Facilities, Smart Growth/TOD, Materials Flow, Water Management, and Climate Adaptation. The commission additionally calls for the development and introduction of a Sustainable Return on Investment (SROI) model to incorporate triple bottom line practices into the MTA’s standard accounting practices. Much like the a standard economic ROI calculation, the SROI accounts for the carbon averted as a result of green initiatives. As the New York metropolitan population is projected to grow by 4 million people over the next 40 years, it is imperative that the MTA implement these recommendations to ensure a sustainable future, particularly as the U.S. government reinvests in mass transit infrastructure across the country. The question remains, how quickly can the MTA make these recommendations a reality?