Environmental Impacts: A Speculation

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that a lot of money and time is spent on environmental impact statements, especially when it comes to transportation infrastructure.

Now, I understand the importance of all this stuff, but I don’t understand why it takes so long and involves so many consultants. Especially when it comes to transit projects. Quite frankly, it’s a known fact that transit is good for the environment and more highways and stroads are bad.

For example, I think I can say a priori, that a local increase in Diesel emisions from a Bus Rapid Transit project is going to be more than offset by the decrease in pollution from cars on the road.

Maybe the environmental protection laws ought to take that into account. Perhaps, if the service is projected to meet of exceed a certain number of riders, it can waive the rest of the review. A similar principal could be extended to projects in built up urban areas — I’m similarly confident that a transit-oriented development in a city has a positive environmental impact when one considers that it would mean the same development wouldn’t haver to be built greenfield in a car-dependent suburb.

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