Recession Stinks Up the Air Around Virginia's Highways

Northern Virginia scraps free rides on bad air days

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The recession is forcing the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission to think inside the car again, meaning motorists will be forced to choke on smog on bad air days.

For the past 10 years, the NVTC offered free rides on public buses on days that achieved code red status for poor air quality, but that's coming to an end.

The $2.6 million earmarked for this year's RIDE FREE program is being siphoned off into other transit projects because of a lack of federal funding.

The idea behind the program was to encourage commuters who drive to take the bus on days when the air was expected to be particularly disgusting. Emissions and green house gasses were reduced as a result, according to NVTC.

Unless drivers who did take advantage of the program have a Pavlovian reaction to "code red bad air day," or the green movement encourages enough people to pay for bus rides in order to preserve their lungs and the planet, the air in northern Virginia could get nasty this summer.

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