Hieftje discusses Ann Arbor's green projects

BY THOMAS CHAN
Daily Staff Reporter
Published October 29, 2008

From Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje's vantage point, the future of the city is green.

Hieftje explained his plans for sustainable energy in Ann Arbor with a small group of students in West Hall yesterday, outlining his views on a commuter rail mass transit system.

"70,000 people a day drive to work in Ann Arbor from somewhere else," Hieftje said. "If we can take a bite out of that, it'd make a big difference."

The city's future green projects also include streetlights with LED lamps, which could cut energy usage in half, to using windpower produced in Michigan. The city has already installed many of the new streetlights.

Hieftje also mentioned the city’s hybrid electric buses, and his participation in the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, in which mayors agree to attempt to meet or beat the 1997 Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Above all, Hieftje said he hopes the city and University can better its relationship to make Ann Arbor more environmentally friendly.

“I think there’s more potential for the city and the University to work together and to be better partners than we already are,” he said.

LSA sophomore Andrew Fileti, who helped organize the event, said building a stronger partnership was the purpose of Hieftje's talk.

“There aren’t as many initiatives as there should be given the city’s eagerness to work on these issues as well as student organizations on campus,” he said.