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Iowa Near Bottom in Transportation Policy Study

January 7, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa - The second-largest and fastest-growing source of carbon pollution is transportation. A new report from Smart Growth America finds that about half the states have no clean-commuting incentives and only 15 have policies aimed at curbing urban sprawl. The report notes that Iowa comes in 40th overall for policies that could save money and reduce such pollution.

Linda Gobberdiel, executive director of 1000 Friends of Iowa, says the areas where Iowa is deficient have to do with transportation policy.

"Complete Streets, incentives for cleaner transportation and linking transportation and land use are the policy arenas we really fall down on."

By Complete Streets, she means streets designed for all users, including bicyclists and pedestrians.

Stewart Anderson, director of planning for the Iowa Department of Transportation, contends Iowa has made progress, particularly in urban areas, by encouraging commuters not to drive alone.

"There are things we can do to encourage alternative forms of transportation. We've worked hard to make it easier to ride your bike to work, walk to work or take transit to work."

The report says one area that most states, including Iowa, could improve in is designing road projects with all users in mind. "Safe routes to schools" is another improvement area, listed because such routes encourage more walking and biking.

The full report, "Climate Change and State Transporation Policy," is available at www.smartgrowthamerica.org.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA