McDonnell encourages sustainability efforts
Governor announces Virginia Transportation Challenge Friday, urges constituents to limit car use at least once every two weeks
Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Friday the Virginia Transportation Challenge, an initiative encouraging Virginians to use an alternate form of transportation at least once every two weeks.\nMcDonnell urged Virginians to make small changes to improve their overall quality of life.
"We know from a health perspective that using an alternate form of transportation can cause less stress," McDonnell spokesperson Jeff Caldwell said. "Depending on the type of alternate form, if you're walking or riding a bike to work, it can be a healthier experience for you."
The results of this challenge have the ability to affect Virginians individually, as well as the commonwealth as a whole, by alleviating some of Virginia's transportation problems, including congestion in urban areas, Caldwell said.
"Transportation is one of the key challenges facing the commonwealth, and ensuring we have a modern and efficient transportation system is a key part of keeping Virginia the nation's best place to live and do business," McDonnell said in a press release.
McDonnell has proposed this challenge as a "grassroots" effort. "The governor's challenge is not forcing anyone to do anything, but he's encouraging them," Caldwell said.
While the challenge will be driven largely by the enthusiasm of the residents of Virginia, McDonnell also has corresponded with local businesses and agencies. Additionally, he has used Internet media to encourage conversation about the challenge.
"[McDonnell] ... put out a YouTube video, and through agencies like local transit agencies, they will discuss this with citizens and hope folks will take his lead," Caldwell said. Some University students are well ahead of McDonnell. Student Council is currently working on projects to encourage University students and faculty to use alternative transportation methods, including car sharing programs, bike safety lessons, a "Green Challenge" and the creation of a Bike Smart Map, Cristina Maldonado, co-chair of Council's Environmental Sustainability Committee, said in an email.
In keeping with the committee's emphasis on eco-friendly behaviors, Council backed an initiative last week which set a University goal to cut carbon emissions. "The Student Council supported an initiative put forth by the President's Committee on Sustainability to cut the University's carbon emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020," Maldonado said.
McDonnell hopes the challenge will lead to lifestyle changes by encouraging Virginians to be more environmentally friendly. "Try something different and maybe you will find that it makes your life easier, and it's also something you want to do more regularly," Caldwell said.