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Monday, April 21, 2014

COTA application for training, technical assistance selected

The Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority’s application for the Federal Transit Administration’s Environmental Management System Training and Technical Assistance Program for Transit Agencies has been selected out of the hundreds of applications received.

COTA was informed that COTA’s application has been chosen to join the program in an email message from Antoinette Quagliata, Environmental Protection Specialist, on April 3, 2013.

According to Quagliata, Virginia Tech will be contacting COTA soon to begin making arrangements for COTA’s participation as well as to set up the baseline site visits.

“We look forward to working with your team and helping them to achieve their sustainability goals,” said Qualiata.

A separate email message from Christopher Van Wyk, acting director, Office of Human and Natural Environment, to Thomas J. Camacho, special assistant for Public Transportation, informed Camacho of FTA’s decision to select the CNMI’s application.

“At FTA, we are very excited about this training and assistance partnering opportunity. EMS implementation is a good business practice and a demonstration of environmental stewardship,” Van Wyk said.

An environmental management system, or EMS, is a set of management processes and procedures that allow an organization to analyze control and reduce the environmental impact of its activities, products, and services and operate with greater efficiency and control. FTA’s program walks selected agencies through the development and implementation of an EMS using the ISO 14001 Standard through a series of workshops, on-site technical support visits, electronic materials and resources, and consultation.

Prior to being approved for the program, FTA and Virginia Tech’s Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement interviewed the CNMI team. The interview provided COTA with an opportunity to discuss its application and goals toward potential participation in the EMS program.

The CNMI COTA team will travel to Roanoke, Virginia, to attend a four-day workshop in August and November this year and again in February and June 2014.

This is a welcome news to COTA and the CNMI, especially when COTA is in its infant stage and just starting to assess and develop a viable transportation system in the CNMI, said Camacho.

“This training will definitely be an eye opener with NEPA compliance and Environmental Justice policy as required by FTA. COTA is very sensitive to any impact to our delicate environment and we want to make sure COTA addresses all and any environmental issues during the planning process to prevent any negative impacts to the environment,” Camacho added.

To learn more about this competitive environmental training, call COTA at 664-2292 or visit http://www.cota.vt.edu/ems/fta/index.html. (COTA)

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