To advance President Joe Biden’s commitment to combat climate change and bring down costs for families, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently announced a proposed rule for states and municipalities to track and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act law made available more than $27 billion in federal funding to help state transportation departments and metropolitan planning organizations meet their declining greenhouse gas emission targets.
The new rule would take two important steps to combat climate change.
First, it would establish a national framework for tracking state-by-state progress by adding a new greenhouse gas management measure to the existing FHWA national standards to help states track performance and make more informed investment decisions.
Second, it would create a flexible system under which state and local transportation agencies can set their own declining targets for on-road greenhouse gas emissions from roadway travel on the national highway system.
“We are taking an important step forward in tackling transportation’s share of the climate challenge, and we don’t have a moment to waste,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Our approach gives states the flexibility they need to set their own emission reduction targets while providing them with resources from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law to meet those targets and protect their communities.”
This proposed rule builds upon and would add greater transparency to the work that 24 states and the District of Columbia are already doing under greenhouse gas emission target-setting requirements.
The proposed rule would obligate state and local officials to set targets to reduce emissions in the coming years, using 2021 as the baseline. It would add emissions to an existing list of performance measures — originating from transportation bills in 2012 and 2015 — that includes data on safety, congestion, pavement and other items.
Transportation is the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and the Biden administration has put forward an integrated approach to reducing pollution from the sector while ensuring our economy works for all Americans.
This entails the use of federal funding to help state and local governments meet their emissions reduction targets, in addition to efforts to help reduce transportation costs for the American people through the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, which are in place to make driving more affordable by increasing fuel efficiency.
Those standards will make ‘vehicle miles per gallon’ more efficient, save consumers money at the pump, and reduce transportation emissions.