(Washington, DC) Mayor Adrian M. Fenty today announced two major environmental initiatives aimed at building the District’s workforce and encouraging transit use, highlighting the city’s position as a national leader for environmental policies and sustainable development.
“The District is one of the greenest cities in the country,” said Mayor Fenty. “We have more park space per person than any other major U.S. city and more of our residents get to work by foot, bike, bus or train than almost anywhere else. Now we are starting to think strategically about how we can leverage these green assets to create jobs and build a more sustainable city.”
Mayor Fenty said he will name a Green-Collar Jobs Advisory Council that will include members of his administration, non profit and advocacy organizations, contractors and developers. The Council will devise a strategy for linking the District’s green building policies to job creation. Late last year, the District enacted the most ambitious green building legislation in the country. Beginning in 2008, the District will begin requiring all new government buildings to go green. By 2012, all new buildings larger than 50,000 square feet – public or private – must conform to green standards. The Advisory Council will determine how the District can prepare its workforce to participate in the green building boom – from high school apprenticeship programs to graduate degrees.
“We know these jobs are coming down the pipeline,” Mayor Fenty said. “So it is critical that the government and the private sector work together to give our residents a real edge in the marketplace.” While specific members to the Advisory Council have not been selected yet, the District will be represented by the Office of Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, the Department of Employment Services, the Department of Small and Local Business Development, the Department of the Environment, the Office of Planning, and the Workforce Investment Council.
Mayor Fenty also announced that Sept. 18th will be Car-Free Day in the District. Under the leadership of Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward Six), the DC Council unanimously declared Car Free Day to encourage residents and visitors to use alternate means of transportation. Each gallon of gasoline contributes 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, leading the global climate change. More than a third of the city’s residents already take public transit to work – a higher percentage than any other city except New York. Another 13 percent of residents bike or walk. Anyone interested in pledging to go car-free on Car-Free Day can register at www.carfreedc.info.