Cal State Long Beach Economics Professor Receives $220,000 METRANS Grant to Study Impact of Environmental Policies on Transportation of Goods from Ports
Wade Martin, a Cal State Long Beach professor who specializes in environmental and natural resource economics, has been awarded a $220,000 METRANS grant for a study that focuses on the relationship between different modes of transportation of goods from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and alternative environmental policies that address global warming.
The project seeks to model the economic impacts of goods movement via trucks and/or trains and how this movement of goods is influenced by environmental decisions of state policy makers.
"There are different environmental policy alternatives to meet targets such as levels of air pollution and we want to know what sectors of the economy will be affected and what the magnitude of that effect will be," Martin explained. "The model will also allow us to evaluate how different income groups will be affected by these environmental policies.
"What we're looking for," he added, "is insight into cost effectiveness and the distributional effects of various environmental policies. For example, when a 20 percent cut in carbon dioxide is proposed, there are different ways to achieve the end goal. The idea is to find the least costly way."
Martin pointed out that the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex is a good place for such research, noting that the magnitude of port activity will continue to grow along with its population concentration.
"Now, if nobody is there to breathe the air, pollution is less of a human problem. But, when there is a population concentration such as that of the LA/Long Beach area, there is a significant impact and it is important to understand the magnitude and distribution of that impact," he said.
The METRANS Transportation Center is a U.S. Department of Transportation University Transportation Center (UTC) established in 1998 through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. The center focuses on transportation problems of large metropolitan areas, and its mission is to help solve transportation problems through interdisciplinary research, education and information dissemination.
A joint partnership of the University of Southern California and Cal State Long Beach, METRANS is the only UTC in Southern California. Using the Los Angeles region as its laboratory, it conducts research on all modes of surface transportation. METRANS' activities in public transit and goods movement research and technology transfer have been particularly successful, and it is one of the few UTCs in the United States with goods movement as one of its specializations.
Martin acknowledged the important role that his colleagues, CSULB economic professors Kristen Monaco and Lisa Grobar, will play in the research as well as the contribution of students that are working as research assistants on this research.
"We try to involve as many students as we can since this provides an important opportunity for them to see how economic theory can be applied to real world problems," he said.
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