Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Streetsblog

In a First, Seattle’s Metro Transit Will Be Funded By Carbon Offsets

Here's an interesting new type of revenue stream for transit. The King County Council, which encompasses the Seattle region, recently enacted legislation enabling Metro Transit to receive revenue from the sale of carbon offsets.

King County's bid for carbon neutrality will boost Sound Transit. Photo: The Urbanist
King County's bid for carbon neutrality will boost Metro Transit. Photo: The Urbanist
false

Stephen Fesler at The Urbanist explains this noteworthy innovation:

The initiative, called the Transit Carbon Offset Program, is an incredibly unique strategy for the County. Credits that are sold under the program will be directly invested in transit. Yes, transit. Carbon offset programs aren’t new, there are plenty of them out there like clean energy, reforestation, land banking, and funding building rehabilitation. But King County’s new program would be the first of its kind.

Revenue derived from the sale of transit offset credits would be used by King County Metro Transit (Metro Transit). Metro Transit could spend the credits on new service hours or on investments that would provide even more emissions reductions beyond regular operations.

While transit can still be carbon intensive, the service that it provides can more than make up for the fuel burned by running buses. Transit takes cars off of the road, puts less stress on other services, and reduces inefficient land use patterns.

To administer the offset program transparently, Metro Transit will consult with a third-party organization to monitor the transit offset credits. The third-party organization will be responsible for verifying how Metro Transit will spend revenue from the offset program. Ultimately, Metro Transit must show that the offset credits go toward programs and service that reduce carbon emissions. This will also help provide a rating and establish the cost basis for each credit. These carbon offsets will be available for purchase by WTD, SWD, other governments, and private individuals and entities.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Systemic Failure reports that countries are taking advantage of low energy prices to slash fossil fuel-related subsidies, but not the U.S. And Wash Cycle shares the news about Baltimore's planned 2.6-mile-long protected bike lane. 

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Congressional Watchdog Launches Probe Into Why Massive Cars Kill So Many Pedestrians and Cyclists

If the feds won't get to the bottom of the megacar crisis on their own, the investigative arm of congress will.

June 20, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines Reveal Hochul’s Math: Drivers > Transit Users

Hey, transit users — we're invisible to Congestion Kathy.

June 20, 2024

Pols Let Suffolk Co. Red Light Cams Expire, Inviting Deadlier Streets

Long Islanders should be red hot mad that streets are about to become less safe.

June 19, 2024

Wednesday’s Headlines: Juneteenth Edition

We're off for the holiday, but we still have a slate of news for you!

June 19, 2024

Elmhurst’s ‘Little Thailand’ Gets Open Street Redesign

An already popular open street will be converted to one-way — with the space used to bolster the many restaurants nearby.

June 19, 2024
See all posts