Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Rally to Support Amtrak This June 28

The Washington Post is reporting that the transportation budget proposes cutting federal aid to rail systems by reducing funding for long-distance Amtrak service and limiting money to expand transit lines and build new ones. According to the report:

The $16.2 billion budget for discretionary transportation spending represents a nearly 13 percent reduction in transportation spending over fiscal 2017. That includes a $928 million cut from transit construction grants, nearly half of what Congress recently appropriated for this fiscal year, and a $630 million reduction in subsidies for long-distance Amtrak routes.

Sean Jeans-Gail, vice president of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, said cuts to Amtrak and transit would hit commuters and rural areas particularly hard.

The White House budget requests $76 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation. Most of that -- $59.6 billion – would cover salaries for 55,229 employees and mandatory programs. The proposed cuts would come from the department’s discretionary spending.

Virginians for High Speed Rail, the National Association of Railroad Passengers, and the Southern Environmental Law Center are hosting a rally Wednesday, June 28 at 5:15 pm at Main Street Station, 1500 E. Main Street, to support Amtrak's national trains. Mayor Levar Stoney will attend.

Ridership on Amtrak regionals grew 118.4 percent between 2007 and 2015. Funding is in danger for the Cardinal, Crescent, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Palmetto, and auto train routes.

If this proposed budget is adopted:

  • Staunton, Clifton Forge, Lorton, and Danville will lose 100 percent of their passenger rail service 
  • Charlottesville, Culpeper, and Manassas will lose 66 percent of their passenger rail service 
  • Petersburg will lose 60 percent of their passenger rail service 
  • Lynchburg will lose 50 percent of their passenger rail service 
  • Alexandria will lose 42 percent of their passenger rail service 
  • Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Quantico will lose 33 percent of their passenger rail service

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mayors Uphold Climate Goals of Paris Agreement

In the week since the President pulled the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, 279 Climate Mayors — a peer-to-peer network founded in 2014 — have pledged to adopt, honor, and uphold the Paris Agreement goals in their cities. Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, Virginia is part of this group.

When the President announced the withdrawal on June 1, 61 Climate Mayors spoke up together in support of the agreement. One week later, the number of Climate Mayors more than quadrupled in size, representing nearly one in five Americans.

The Climate Mayors responded forcefully to the Administration’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement last week, each making a strong commitment to uphold its standards in their own cities.

The Climate Mayors now include nine of the 10 largest cities in America — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas, and San Jose — along with hundreds of additional cities large and small, from Boston to Knoxville to the City of Miami, in both red and blue states. In all, the 279 Climate Mayors now represent 59 million Americans from 42 states.

You can see the text, map of and full list of signatories to the Climate Mayors commitment to adopt the Paris Agreement goals. To learn more about Climate Mayors, visit www.climate-mayors.org.You can also engage with Climate Mayors on Facebook, Twitter and Medium.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Water Fill Station Rentals Help the Environment

DPU has water fill stations for rent for various community events in the city of Richmond. These stations can supply the City's award-winning drinking water to your event attendees.

The free water supplied through the water fill stations is a great way to add value to your event. The stations have both drinking and spigot taps, suitable for a quick thirst quencher or to refill a water bottle. There's even a bottom spigot to collect water for dogs.

The stations are built of powder-coated steel and heavy duty plastic to withstand any weather, and nothing spills to create mud around the station. The molded splash pan catches the extra water and the drain hose moves it away from the fountain.

Water stations minimize waste and reduce clean-up by encouraging people to reuse their plastic water bottles. Use the stations to reduce your event's environmental footprint and promote sustainable practices.

The stations have been featured at the UCI Bike Race, Carytown Watermelon Festival, Bon Secours Washington Football Training Camp, and come with 10-foot flags so they can be easily located.

The requirements for a station are:

  • Event must be in the city of Richmond
  • Event must be family-friendly and open to the public
  • Event must occur during daylight hours
  • Desired station location must be within one foot of a fire hydrant, the water source for the unit
  • Desired station location must have adequate clearance for a service truck to deliver and remove it
  • The event promoter must have a $1 million general liability insurance policy that will cover the cost of repair and/or replacement of the station if they are damaged or destroyed during the event
  • Requests must be received at least three weeks in advance of the event

For more information or to submit a rental request, call 646-5200 or contact the Events Office, 646-0524.

Mayors National Climate Action Agenda

A grand total of 1,219 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges and universities from across the U.S. or with significant operations in the U.S., representing the broadest cross section of the American economy yet assembled in pursuit of climate action, recently declared their intent to continue to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions. To view the full statement, quotes and list of signatories, visit: www.WeAreStillIn.com
We, the undersigned mayors, governors, college and university leaders, businesses, and investors are joining forces for the first time to declare that we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.
In December 2015 in Paris, world leaders signed the first global commitment to fight climate change. The landmark agreement succeeded where past attempts failed because it allowed each country to set its own emission reduction targets and adopt its own strategies for reaching them. In addition, nations - inspired by the actions of local and regional governments, along with businesses - came to recognize that fighting climate change brings significant economic and public health benefits.
The Trump administration’s announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world’s ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change. Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.
In the U.S., it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt.
In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities, businesses and investors, representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.
It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and businesses. Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2°C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.
To view the full statement, quotes and list of signatories, visit: www.WeAreStillIn.com

Friday, June 2, 2017

Mayor Supports Paris Climate Agreement

Mayor Levar Stoney tweeted his support for the Paris Climate Agreement on June 2, saying he was proud to stand with more than 80 climate mayors to adopt the goals of the Paris agreement. The City of Richmond is already leading the way with RVAgreen 2050.
This project is a comprehensive undertaking to develop a community energy plan, a deep greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan, and a climate action plan. These components align with the collective goal of reducing city government and community greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 in order to create a healthier, more vibrant, economically competitive and resilient community.

This summer, the Mayor will host a summit of community leaders to begin planning the year-long process to deliver a realistic yet challenging plan. Indicators have been positive so far. Recycling rates are up, community energy use is down, and renewable energy capacity has increased more than 44,000 percent since 2008. City government emissions are down 11 percent. 

The Sustainability department has improved energy efficiency and reduced power use in city buildings, including new HVAC systems, automated controls, energy-efficient lighting, and power and water use tracking software, resulting in $3.8 million in savings.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Congratulations to the 2017 Storm Drain Winners

As part of the RVA H20 initiative, four local artists have been selected to paint their designs onto storm drains along West Grace and Harrison streets. The winners are part of the 2nd Annual Storm Drain Art Project. The first contest painted storm drains near Tredegar Ironworks.

Donna Baily and Jennifer Haebel painted their designs in late May. Alison Tinker and Douglas Fuchs painted theirs the weekend of June 3-4.

To see the winning designs, go to Richmond Magazine.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Richmond Improves Its Efficiency Rankings by Eight Spots

Washington, DC—As the federal government weighs budget cuts to energy efficiency programs, cities are stepping up efforts to reduce energy waste. More mayors and local lawmakers in America’s largest cities are turning to energy efficiency to reduce energy costs for consumers and businesses, strengthen the resilience of their communities, and reduce pollution, according to the third edition of the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released May 11, 2017 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Richmond improved its ranking by 8 spots to be No. 28 on the list.

“Across the nation, cities are taking steps to save energy, and they are creating more economically vibrant and resilient communities in the process,” said ACEEE senior researcher David Ribeiro, the lead report author. “More than half, 32, of the 51 cities improved their scores from 2015 to 2017, with several making substantial point increases. More cities are requiring building owners to benchmark and report buildings' energy use, updating building energy codes, and setting community-wide goals to save energy and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. We also see a new set of cities emerging as leaders for energy efficiency, knocking on the door of the top 10.”