Saturday, July 14, 2007

Arlington Hybrid Taxi Proposal Moves Forward, Will County Board Support It?

Excellent news from the Washington Post (via What's Up Arlington's News You Care About):

The streets of Arlington County could get a little greener if a new taxi company offering fuel-efficient, low-emission hybrid cabs wins approval to operate in the county.

The Arlington Transportation Commission gave its approval to enviroCAB last week at the panel's annual taxi meeting and recommended that the company be allowed to operate 35 cabs in the county.

The company must now seek approval from the County Board, which could have a public hearing on the proposal as soon as September.
It's great to hear the Transportation Commission approved enviroCAB's request. Please email Richard Hartman, a transportation planner with the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services, to thank the commissioners for their decision.

However, this part of the article raised The People's Eyebrow:

County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson (D) said he supports the concept but said the board also wants to factor in the other cab companies when making its decision.

"I think there's a good possibility the board would approve it," Ferguson said. "The only real concern is just fairness to the other cab companies. I think it's a good concept and something that I
hope will succeed."
Granted, this is only a snippet of what could've been a longer interview. And granted, I'm sure Paul is just trying to be pragmatic.

But ... this is our region's leading environmental elected official talking? All we get is tepid endorsement? Why isn't Ferguson saying, "We should not only approve this, but let the word go forth from this time and place that anyone else applying for a cab permit in Arlington better make it a hybrid (or pure electric) or you have no shot of getting approved"?

As you can probably tell, it tends to drive The Green Miles a little crazy that here in a county where the vast majority of voters are Democrats and so many citizens are ardent environmentalists, our elected officials are often so overly cautious on environmental issues.

Why wouldn't both Arlington County and the taxi drivers want all of their cabs to be hybrids? Isn't stop-and-go cab driving exactly the kind of driving that maximizes the efficiency of a hybrid's regenerative braking? Wouldn't drivers want to cut their fuel costs in half? Wouldn't the county want to slash emissions from cabs? Considering Arlington County taxi riders are paying more for cab rides to help cover fuel costs, I would hope County Board members would ask companies like Red Top Cab these very questions.

Please email the County Board right now to let them know every single new taxi in Arlington should be a hybrid!
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