Train Hails Court Decision on Transportation Controls

[EPA press release - January 19, 1977]

Russell E. Train, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, today hailed a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordering the implementation of the New York City transportation control plan.

The court ruling came in a suit brought by Friends of the Earth, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), and local organizations against the City of New York. EPA joined in the suit after it was brought.

"The major cities of this country are strangling in their own congestion," Train said. "This court decision should help reduce the traffic jams and ensure that cars are properly tuned. Both are vital parts of the effort to protect the public health from air pollution."

"In many of our cities, the air will never be healthy to breathe unless we implement such measures along with stringent controls on emissions from new cars," Train said.

The New York plan includes preferential highway lanes for buses and carpools, emissions inspections for cabs, autos and trucks, enforcement of parking violations, traffic control techniques such as one way streets and new traffic signals, and bridge tolls.

The decision of the Second Circuit came on a motion to order, or mandamus, the U.S. District Court to require the City to carry out the transportation control plan originally drawn up in 1973. A decision of the district court had expressed doubts about the constitutionality of requiring the City to carry out the plan through enforcement. However, the Court of Appeals ruled that the Clean Air Act was constitutional and that traffic controls were an area for "cooperative federalism." EPA has long contended that the city was responsible for pollution coming from its streets and highways.