Albany, Ga. --
When motorists think of traffic congestion, perhaps cities like Atlanta or Washington, D.C., come to mind first.
But with a statistic of more than 94 percent of the vehicles entering Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany as single-occupancy vehicles, officials believe the installation community can help eliminate pollution and save commuters some gas money through a new initiative.
The base has signed on to become the first employer in the Albany area to partner with The Clean Air Campaign, a Georgia non-profit organization, as part of a statewide strategic initiative to mitigate air pollution by reducing employee commute trips, according to Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer, MCLB Albany.
In the Dougherty County area, one-third of all smog-forming emissions come from the tailpipes of cars and trucks, he said.
“The goal of the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany partnership with The Clean Air Campaign, and in conjunction with my overall energy reduction plan is to foster greater use of alternatives to driving alone by creating more options for personnel, such as carpooling and vanpooling,” Williams said. “Not only do these options improve air quality, they also offer opportunities for personnel to save money on commute costs and improve work-life balance.”
Kent Morrison, executive director, MCLB Albany, echoed Williams’ goals.
“We are constantly evaluating new avenues for sustainability that we can introduce into our operations to address environmental impact, create cost savings and build positive morale,” Morrison said. “Partnering with The Clean Air Campaign puts us in position to make our facility stronger while we proactively address long-term air pollution challenges in the region.”
“We recently conducted a survey at our gates and found that (more than) 94 percent of the vehicles entering the installation were single-occupancy vehicles,” he added. “We counted every car coming in and we counted which ones had more than one person. We have the potential and the need for carpooling.”
Williams has also signed a base order to curb unnecessary idling of diesel engine vehicles and equipment, which will include a formal policy prohibiting the practice.
The impact will be enormous, because on average more than 100 tractor trailer loads are trucked daily
into this industrial installation, Morrison said. The new policy is designed to protect employee health and save on fuel costs in addition to provide air quality benefits.
“We are excited that MCLB Albany is taking a leadership position on transportation and sustainability issues affecting the installation and the surrounding Albany community,” Kenyon Thweatt, senior program manager for The Clean Air Campaign, said. “This partnership puts MCLB Albany in position to help proactively address some of the challenges that come with long-term growth.”
The Clean Air Campaign works one-on-one with employers like MCLB Albany to design and implement commute-options programs, backed by a full slate of tools to support commuters, according to Thweatt.
Some examples of these support resources include helping personnel find potential carpool and vanpool partners who live and work near each other to share the ride; offering participants a Guaranteed Ride Home that can be used on days when workers have to leave work earlier or later due to unexpected events and can’t catch their normal rides home; paying commuters $3 a day - up to $100 - to make the switch from driving alone; rewarding carpools of three or more with $40 to $60 in monthly gas cards; awarding $25 prizes to commuters who document their use of commute alternatives, he said.
Interested base personnel can learn more about these programs and register online at LogYourCommute.org, a custom Web site developed by The Clean Air Campaign for MCLB Albany, Thweatt added.
In addition to these programs, Department of Defense employees may also participate in the Mass Transportation Incentive Program (Executive Order 13150), which allows federal workers to be reimbursed up to $230 per month for riding transit or approved vanpools to work.
The Clean Air Campaign works with Georgia’s employers, commuters and schools to encourage actions that result in less traffic congestion and better air quality, according to details about the program on CleanAirCampaign.org. These commute option programs are conducted in partnership with the Georgia Department of Transportation and more than 1,600 Georgia employers.
Each day in Georgia, these Clean Air Campaign programs - along with the employers and commuters who participate in them - help eliminate 1.4 million vehicle miles of travel and keep 700 tons of pollution out of the air Georgians breathe while saving employees $574,000 on commute costs, according to information posted on CleanAirCampaign.org.
For more information, call (877) 253-2624 or visit CleanAirCampaign.org.