How will Alaskans get around in 2050? How will people travel, what infrastructure will they need, what needs to happen between now and then? The Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) begins to answer those questions in their draft Long-Range Transportation and Freight Plans. These plans will guide our transportation system for the next 25 years. There are some great objectives in there, but the plans are missing a couple key things.
Destination Zero Carbon
We know that to maintain a livable climate for our children and grandchildren, we need to significantly reduce greenhouse gas pollution as quickly as possible. In the U.S, approximately 27% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. By 2050, we need to have stopped those emissions. Right now, the draft plans that the DOT has put out do not explictly state this goal or set the state up to achieve it. Over the next few years, a large sum of federal infrastructure dollars will roll into the state, and if used wisely can start transitioning the transportation towards a zero carbon future.
Healthy Fish and Wildlife
Fish and wildlife are essential to Alaska- as food, as beauty, and as a tourist attraction. Roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure can hurt ecosystems and these populations if they are poorly planned. Transportation projects should include consideration for our ecosystems and their inhabitants from the earliest stages and protecting our fish and wildlife should be an essential goal in every project.