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FHWA proposes rulemaking for states and municipalities to track and reduce GHG emissions

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for states and municipalities to track and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The new rule would:

  • Establish a national framework for tracking state-by-state progress by adding a new GHG performance management measure to the existing FHWA national performance measures to help states track performance and make more informed investment decisions.

  • Create a flexible system under which State Departments of Transportation (State DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) would set their own declining targets for on-road greenhouse gas emissions from roadway travel on the National Highway System.

Specifically, the proposed rule would require State DOTs and MPOs that have National Highway System (NHS) mileage within their state geographic boundaries and metropolitan planning area boundaries, respectively, to establish declining CO2 emissions targets to reduce CO2 emissions generated by on-road mobile sources relative to calendar year 2021.

The proposed rule would require MPOs serving urbanized areas with multiple MPOs to establish additional joint targets. The proposed rule also would require State DOTs and MPOs to report biennially on their progress in meeting the targets and require FHWA to assess significant progress toward achieving the targets.

The proposed GHG measure would be codified among the National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) performance measures that FHWA established through prior rulemakings.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) makes available more than $27 billion in federal funding to help State Departments of Transportation (State DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) meet their declining GHG targets. Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding is available through various programs over five years, including but not limited to:

  • The Carbon Reduction Program will provide $6.4 billion in formula funding to states and local governments to develop carbon reduction strategies and fund a wide range of projects designed to reduce carbon emissions from on-road highway sources.

  • The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program will provide $5 billion to states primarily through a statutory formula to build out a national electric vehicle charging network, an important step towards making electric vehicle charging accessible to all Americans.

  • A Discretionary Grant Program for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure will provide $2.5 billion in competitive funding to states and local governments to deploy electric vehicle charging and hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along designated alternative fuel corridors and in communities.

  • The Congestion Relief Program will provide $250 million in competitive funding to advance innovative, multimodal solutions to reduce congestion and related economic and environmental costs in the most congested metropolitan areas of the US.

  • The Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Program will provide $400 million in competitive funding to reduce truck idling and emissions at ports, including through the advancement of port electrification.

  • BIL includes more than $5 billion for the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Program, which will help ensure our nation’s transit systems are tackling the climate crisis and working better for all of us.

  • BIL also includes $7.2 billion for the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside that can help state and local governments carry out environmentally friendly pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects.

  • Additionally, FTA’s $69 million Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Program provides funding to local communities to integrate land use and transportation planning with new fixed guideway or core capacity transit capital investment projects. BIL also expands TOD funding opportunities through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) programs.

In addition to new funding sources that states can access from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, new and existing formula programs provide states and local governments access to funding to encourage public transportation and other integrated land use and transportation projects and strategies that reduce air pollution by giving Americans more climate-friendly options for travel, and help state and local governments meet the emissions reduction targets this proposed rule would require them to set for themselves.

The proposed rule is expected to publish in the Federal Register next week. A final rule may be published after FHWA has had the opportunity to review the comments submitted.


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