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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) yesterday recognized six organizations for their achievements in sustainability. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) won the association's gold level recognition for its sustainability efforts, which include reducing water usage by nearly 39 percent compared to 2008.The San Jose, Calif.-area agency decreased its water usage through an increase in drought-resistant landscaping, using recycled water for bus washing, reducing irrigation levels and an overall retrofit to its irrigation equipment and plumbing fixtures. Compared to 2008, the agency reduced waste production 57 percent and increased recycling 27 percent as a result of composting at one of its cafeterias and an expansion of its recycling program, APTA officials said in a press release.San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) earned APTA's silver level recognition. The agency has demonstrated a commitment to using more renewable power by installing solar photo voltaic systems at two of its maintenance shops and at the Union City station bus canopy. In addition, BART has plans to install more throughout its system. The agency also has reduced electricity demand by implementing lighting retrofits at its facilities. The remaining honorees were:• Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, Cincinnati;• Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, Ann Arbor, Mich.;• the "Big Blue Bus," Santa Monica, Calif.; and• Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, St. Petersburg, Fla.