The transportation industry is responsible for most of the dramatic improvement in the U.S. environment that has occurred over the past 30 years, according to a new publication from the American Road & Transportation Builders Assn., a Washington, D.C.-based construction association.

Transportation & the Environment, The Untold Story, "is going to surprise a lot of people," says ARTBA President Pete Ruane. "The facts about transportation and the environment just don’t bacup the view of the world that no-growth advocates continue to feed the media, government officials and the general public."
He adds that federal government data included in the report "make it clear that adding needed road capacity is not incompatible with continued air and water quality improvements."
According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, nearly 80% of the hazardous air pollutants released nationwide today come from non-transportation sources. Motor vehicle emissions have declined dramatically since 1970: carbon monoxide is down 45%, volatile organic compounds down 60%, particulate matter is down 47%, nitrogen oxides are down 5% and lead has been eliminated. Over the same period, Ruane notes, the U.S. population has grown 30%, the number of licensed vehicles is up 87%, and vehicle miles traveled have increased over 125%.
Another government report cited in the ARTBA publication shows that the U.S. transportation construction industry recycles asphalt pavement materials at a higher rate (over 80%) than the recycling of aluminum cans (60%), newsprint (57%), plastic soft drink bottles (37%), glass beverage bottles (31%) and magazines (23%).
The publication argues that traffic congestion causes unnecessary air pollution and that congestion is caused by the failure to add road capacity to keep pace with population growth, a growing economy, new housing, public transportation needs, and other demographic trends.
Copies are available by contacting Carrie McCabe at (202) 289-4434.