I don’t know a great deal about Ron Sims, head of King County in Washington (that’s Seattle and some surrounding areas), but apparently he’s going to be Deputy Secretary at HUD and based on Kate Sheppard’s writeup he seems like an excellent choice:
Sims has built up a national reputation for his efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the Seattle area and prepare the region for some of the now-unavoidable impacts of climate change. His work on global warming helped earn him acknowledgement as a Public Official of the Year in 2006 from Governing magazine, which honored him again in 2008 as one of America’s Innovative Leaders for his work on mass transit.
King County’s plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions was enacted in 2007, and it’s already seeing results. According to its most recent climate report, in 2007 the county reduced emissions from its operations by more than 6 percent below 2000 levels, as measured by the Chicago Climate Exchange, a voluntary cap-and-trade market. It was the first county to join the exchange, and King County Metro Transit was the first major bus transit agency to join. […]
In his new post, Sims will apply lessons learned from his work in the Seattle area, but also take inspiration from cities like Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, and San Francisco, where mayors have launched innovative programs to curb emissions. “My job is to find those areas where folks are doing that and say, folks, let’s meet, let’s begin to work with Secretary Donavan on a strategy that basically says we’re not having to start from scratch,” said Sims.
The Seattle are is far from the ideal in terms of transportation policy, but my understanding is that they’ve made some important strides in recent years and that it’s one of relatively few metro areas where political leaders understand that controlling demand for space on roads — rather than endlessly building more highways — is the key to resolving congestion issues.