Powered by San Antonio: Getting to Carbon Neutrality through Transportation & Climate Initiatives

In 2019 San Antonio passed its first Climate Action & Adaptation Plan and was selected to join the American Cities Climate Challenge to deepen and accelerate efforts to promote a resilient future. The transportation sector accounts for 38% of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory, with single occupancy vehicles contributing the greatest share. With a mandate to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, will the 7th largest city in the country be able to get there?

San Antonio identified 4 short-term transportation priorities to reach its aggressive greenhouse gas reduction and ozone attainment goals. They are to enhance public transit speed reliability and user experience; explore opportunities for a high-frequency public transit network; expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and augment commuter incentives with a goal of reducing vehicle miles traveled. But the city must rely on a network of strong partnerships to advance these initiatives. In this session, we will present an in-depth look at the four prioritized strategies, the pathway to climate plan implementation, challenges local government faces and the beneficial partnerships that have been formed to advance a common goal of reduced transportation consumption.

Julia Murphy is the City of San Antonio’s Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer and is on the team working on the City’s first climate action and adaptation plan, focusing on energy efficiency, modern transportation and air quality. Julia has worked on and published articles about natural resource conservation initiatives in the Texas Hill Country, and developed the award-winning San Antonio Bikes program. Signature projects include land conservation over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, implementing the first bike sharing system in Texas along the San Antonio River to connect the assets in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, establishing the Hardberger Park Conservancy and coordinating preservation and adaptive reuse of historic Herff Farm on the banks of Cibolo Creek. Previously, Julia worked with the Army Air Force Exchange Service in Italy, Germany and Spain. Julia serves on the board of the Cibolo Conservancy, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, Urban Sustainability Directors Network and Urban Land Institute. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.

John Bailey is a Climate Advisor for the City of San Antonio as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies supported American Cities Climate Challenge. John has over two decades of experience advocating for transportation and land use policies and practices that promote sustainable and equitable outcomes. He has done this at the national level in Washington, DC, and has worked at the state and local level in California and Minnesota. He was the founding Executive Director of the Washington Smart Growth Alliance, which brought together real estate professionals, environmentalists, business leaders and affordable housing advocates to promote transit-oriented development. After moving to Minnesota, John became the Policy Director at Envision Minnesota where he led numerous efforts around transit funding, community planning, and environmental policy. In the late 1990’s, John was a founder of City CarShare, the first large-scale car sharing business in North America, and he recently founded the Saint Paul Tool Library. He is most proud of his volunteer work helping to resettle newly-arriving refugees, including teaching them to use the public transportation system. John grew up in Galveston, Texas and graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Community Studies.

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