Free Rides Deter Pollution

May 9, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Rapid will offer free rides on all its fixed routes for up to as many as 10 days during Ozone Action! season, which runs until Sept. 30.

The ozone layer miles above the earth’s surface protects humans from solar ultraviolet radiation, but ground level ozone damages lung tissue.

“We are trying to limit the amount of ground-level ozone created, and the best way to achieve that goal is to reduce the number vehicles on the road. It’s that simple,” said spokesperson Jennifer Kalczuk.

Kalczuk said total cost of the Ozone Action! day free ride program is $68,288. Of that amount, 80 percent, or $54,630, of the cost is federally funded and 20 percent, or $13,658, is covered by a state match.

An Ozone Action Day is declared when state weather forecasters predict that weather conditions will be conducive to the formation of ozone, the primary ingredient in urban smog.

Ozone is produced by a number of sources. Its manmade sources include fossil fuel emissions released by cars, trucks, buses, boats, trains, industrial plants and off-road engines like lawn, garden, construction and farm equipment. Ozone concentrations can reach unhealthful levels when the weather is hot and sunny with relatively light winds, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.    

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