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CARTA among winners in state's annual Environmental Stewardship Awards

NASHVILLE - Chattanooga's CARTA is among this year's crop of winners in the annual Governor's Environmental Stewardship Awards, Gov. Bill Haslam and Commissioner Bob Martineau with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced today. The Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) is being recognized for launching through Tennessee Valley Authority funding an integrated public Level 2 charging and electric vehicle car share network along its existing public transit system routes. CARTA now has 56 charging stations across 20 locations, according to the administration's news release. Energy use is offset by three new solar power generators with a combined capacity of 80 kilowatts. Implementing the program is estimated to have reduced total emissions reduction amounts by 530 tons of CO2. State officials also note CARTA recognized the value in promoting multi-modal-travel solutions that can be integrated into the transit system. Electric charging and car share station sites were designed to coordinate with CARTA's mainline bus and Electric Shuttle routes as well as Bike Chattanooga Bicycle Transit System locations and key downtown parking garages. CARTA selected Green Commuter to launch the state's first all-electric public car share system, with the initial deployment of 20 Nissan LEAFs in Chattanooga. These vehicles use the public charging stations and are maintained and sponsored by Green Commuter. The 31-year-old Governor's Environmental Stewardship Awards program recognizes exceptional, voluntary actions that improve or protect the environment and natural resources through projects or initiatives that aren't mandated either by law or regulation. This year's awards program covers nine categories: Building Green; Clean Air, Energy and Renewable Resources; Environmental Education and Outreach; Environmental Education and Outreach (school category); Land Use; Materials Management; Natural Heritage; and Sustainable Performance. "These organizations represent the spirit and drive that make the Volunteer State great," Haslam said in a news release. "I thank all of the winners for their individual contributions to the environment and for keeping Tennessee a beautiful state in which to live and work and to visit." TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau said in a statement that "I applaud all who were nominated and those who won for working to protect our state's natural resources in an efficient, sustainable way. Voluntary actions are crucial to safeguard and improve our natural environment." Recipients will be honored in a June 16 event in Nashville. Besides CARTA, other recipients are: * Belmont University – Davidson County * City of Lebanon – Wilson County * Keep Knoxville Beautiful – Knox County * Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization – Knox County * Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority – Davidson County * Nashville Fire Department Station 19 – Davidson County * New Hope Christian Academy – Shelby County * Sherwood Forest Project – Davidson County * Suttree Landing Park – Knox County * The Nashville Food Project – Davidson County

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