Houston Scores Federal Grant to Reduce Transportation-Related Emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency has handed Houston a check to jump start green initiatives throughout the city. The EPA says reducing Houston's ozone pollution is one of the goals of the project. Wendy Siegle reports.
The City of Houston received the 423-thousand dollar grant as part of the EPA’s Climate Showcase Communities program. More than 400 communities competed for the grants; just 25 were issued. Houston will be using the funds to reduce transportation-related emissions. Over 30 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. Sustainability Director for the city Laura Spanjian wants that percentage to drop.

“We’re making a big push to try to get people out of their cars and into alternative forms of transportation.”

Spanjian says the city plans on rolling out a bike-share program early next year. The funds will also be spent on expanding Houston’s electric car infrastructure. There are currently 15 electric vehicle charging stations in the city, but with the help of the grant, that number is set to rise to 65. The EPA’s Jim Yarbrough says the initiatives should boost Houston’s chances of meeting the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone pollution.

“By reducing combustion sources, which these efforts will also do, Houston is reducing nitrogen oxide emissions which are very important in forming ozone. And you know that ozone is a big problem in the Houston air quality situation.”

Spanjian says the city is working hard to meet the EPA’s ozone guidelines, but she adds that it will have to make even more of an effort when the EPA sets new, more stringent standards. The new ozone limits are expected to be released by the EPA in late October.

For more information about the EPA project, visit the Houston Climate Showcase.