Green transportation all the way around is a great investment from many different angles. It expands the transportation sector of the economy, spurs capital investment in new technology, and most importantly is environmentally friendly. However, those are just general statements and what most experts attempt to do is to quantify the dividends from green transportation. In essence, the question they attempt to ask is: How much does green transportation truly pay off? The answer appears to be yes according to economist Joseph Cortright who looked at the transportation system in Portland.
To attempt to quantify the benefits of green transportation, a study was commissioned by economist Joseph Cortright to look at Portland, Oregon’s transportation system and he found “2.6 billion in annual savings a year.” Cortright arrives at that figure by showing how “Portlanders save millions on travel expenses each year alone—money that gets re-invested in the economy, stimulating local businesses and more spending on housing.” As such, what Cortright’s analysis shows is indeed communities and regions should look into sustainable transport because of the dividends it pays.
Cortright’s study is the first of its kind to not only articulate why communities and regions should go green, but to also showcase its concrete benefits with actual verifiable data, evidence, and reports. Thus, for a community that is hesitant to invest in sustainable transport, their doubt and skepticism should be at least tempered by Cortright’s rather comprehensive, detailed, and important study looking at how green transportation pays dividends.
Many communities, therefore, for a variety of reasons may be hesitant at least initially to invest in sustainable transport in the short-term because of the state of their finances. Right now, for many cities, towns, and localities, they are undergoing severe budget cutbacks thanks to an ailing economy. Thus, the ailing economy issue may used as an excuse to at least not initially invest in green transportation immediately.
Cortright’s study of Portland, however, shows the millions of dollars that can be reinvested back into the community as a result of sustainable transport. Thus, rather than offering an excuse for not investing in sustainable, green transport, Cortright’s study provides ample evidence that making such an investment is sound public policy even in these rather turbulent and difficult economic times for states, cities, localities, and regions. In summary, the Cortright study does a good job articulating why sustainable transport pays dividends. Perhaps, other communities will learn and glean information from Cortright’s study and actually implement a sustainable transport system that pays dividends for their community like it already has for Portland, Oregon.
Article by Patrick Kenney, appearing courtesy Justmeans.