|Date:||Tue, 12 Oct 1999 16:32:40 -0700 (PDT)|
|Subject:||Sierra Club "Solving Sprawl" Report Rates the States|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 4, 1999 Contact: Daniel Silverman, (415) 977-5508 Deron Lovaas, (202) 675-2392 http://www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/ Sierra Club "Solving Sprawl" Report Rates the States New Report Finds Sprawl Solutions Innovative and Effective -- If Enforced Washington, D.C. -- Today's release of "Solving Sprawl" documents that suburban sprawl is not inevitable. The Sierra Club's second annual sprawl report shows that states and communities across the nation are using innovative programs and tools to manage poorly-planned growth. "The costs and consequences of poorly-planned development are becoming clear and common. The good news is that we are not doomed to a future of traffic congestion, air pollution, overcrowded schools, abandoned city centers, and lost open space and farm land," said Carl Pope, Sierra Club's Executive Director. "This report proves that we can manage suburban sprawl by adopting and implementing smart growth solutions." The report rates each of the 50 states by measuring progress in four broad categories: open-space protection, land-use planning, transportation planning and community revitalization. In each area, the report found states with innovative programs that are already working and laggard states that have been slow to adopt sprawl solutions. "The best states are using innovative tools like regional planning councils, urban growth boundaries, investment in public transit and community development programs to help rein-in poorly planned growth," said Deron Lovaas, Representative for the Sierra Club's Challenge to Sprawl Campaign. States that want to begin slowing sprawl have plenty of successful examples to follow. For example: · In Maryland, the state has earmarked $140 million for open space protection and has plans to save 58,000 acres of crucial land along the state's Eastern Shore. · In Vermont, housing advocates have joined with environmentalists to preserve farmland and provide affordable housing. · In Rhode Island, the state has made a serious effort to break the stranglehold of the automobile by investing in transportation alternatives. · And, in Oregon, urban growth limits and intelligent planning have protected open space while allowing cities like Portland to thrive. "These states are leading the way. Unfortunately, too many other states are dropping the ball," said Pope. For instance, only 11 states have passed comprehensive, statewide growth-management acts. Twenty-one states spent over half of their federal transportation dollars on new road construction, instead of investing in existing roads and developing transportation alternatives. Building new roads will not solve our traffic problems -- just as buying bigger pants will not help you lose weight -- yet 26 states spent less than $10 per urban resident per year on alternatives to driving. Some states have sprawl solutions on the books, but are lagging or completely failing to implement or fund these programs. Georgia and Florida have excellent growth management laws, but sprawl is rampant in places like Tampa/St. Petersburg and Atlanta. "Stopping sprawl requires deeds, not just words," added Lovaas. The report also offers profiles of the top states, short articles on different solutions to sprawl, and commentary from in-house and guest experts. The complete report with ratings for all 50 states is available on the web at www.sierraclub.org. The Sierra Club's Challenge to Sprawl Campaign -- one of the organization's four national priority campaigns -- is committed to stopping sprawl and revitalizing communities through smart growth. The Sierra Club, with more than 550,000 members and 65 chapters, is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization.
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