The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) for the Washington, DC region has appointed a task force to identify steps to decrease emissions from SUVs and light-duty trucks in the area.
A recent TPB analysis indicates the increased emissions could mean the region will not be able to comply with federally approved Clean Air caps on emissions from cars, trucks and buses for 2005. The group added that if no action is taken to reduce emissions, the region might not be able to comply with air quality requirements in 2003, when the TPB must submit its next transportation plan.
A recent TPB review of vehicle registration data in the region showed a significant increase in the number of SUVs and other light-duty trucks, with a corresponding rise in the level of emissions. The analysis indicates the region will have to reduce or offset an expected level of eight tons of nitrogen oxide emissions in 2005. TPB said it won't be easy to achieve that goal.
“We do feel a sense of urgency,” said TPB Chairman John Mason, who is also the mayor of of Fairfax, VA. “Right now, the region is in compliance with the air quality standards, but we can't add any new items to the transportation plan.”