The Metro Board of Directors passed a motion on Thursday to incorporate sustainability requirements in every major Metro construction or remodeling project costing $5 million or more. Setting a new national standard in “green” projects, this change will require stormwater capture as well as extensive use of recycled material, permeable and light-colored pavement, shade trees, and other sustainability measures. In setting these requirements for future projects, the Metro Board hopes these practices will become pervasive throughout the region and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

The motion, authored by Metro Directors Eric Garcetti, Sheila Kuehl, Mark Ridley-Thomas, John Fasana, Hilda Solis and Mike Bonin, also sets a goal for an 80% reduction of nitrous oxide (NO) emissions by 2025. In addition, it aims to significantly reduce the number of “vehicle miles traveled” in LA County.

Every day, Metro provides transit service to over 1.4 million riders – taking millions of vehicles and their associated greenhouse emissions off the road. The Board has also adopted a series of policies that demonstrate our commitment to operating in an environmentally sensitive manner: a Green Construction Policy, a Renewable Energy Policy and multiple Sustainability Policies which have guided both our operations and our construction protocols.

However, given Metro’s extensive operations and ambitious capital program, there still remain a number of opportunities to strengthen and develop policies to further protect and improve the environment.

Specifically, Metro will look for ways to reduce environmental impacts associated with both the development and operations of our current and future systems. Metro’s investments in future construction projects will reflect the best sustainability practices to meet federal, state, and local objectives for vibrant neighborhoods, economic growth, and social equity.

The motion calls for a report back on how Metro can implement:

1) Expanded tracking of air-quality efforts, including a goal of reducing nitrogen oxide emissions 80% by 2025,

2) An augmentation of Metro’s Green Construction Policy to require all future projects to implement methods to conserve and reuse water, use sustainable building materials, and designate a Sustainability Officer.

3) Strategies to improve connectivity & enhance “First-and-Last Mile” connections to our transit system, including expanding the car-share pilot program to at least ten additional park-and-ride Metro-owned lots

4) Strive to create a Regional Active Transportation Network, in coordination with local municipalities.

5) Strategies to better deploy technology and promote green jobs.

“It’s critically important that Metro continue its tradition of leadership in sustainability and environmentally sound development. This motion carries out that mission in this time of unprecedented expansion of public transportation throughout the County,” Kuehl said.