Environmental News Highlights – January 4, 2023


GAO Declares Controversial FHWA Memo a Rule AASHTO Journal

FTA awards inaugural grants through All Stations Accessibility Program – Mass Transit

The EPA finalizes a water rule that repeals Trump-era changes – AP

7 cases that reshaped environmental law in 2022 – E&E News Greenwire


Environmental Groups Lose Appeal Over Trump Era NEPA Review Rule – Bloomberg Law


Colorado DOT Creates Resiliency Video SeriesAASHTO Journal

Michigan Gov. Witmer backs fee for electric vehicles to fund road repairs – WJBK-TV

It’s electric: ADOT planning a statewide network of EV chargers along interstates – Cronkite News

With a national EV charging network on the horizon, can New Mexico keep up? KUNM Radio

Denver gave out huge rebates on electric bikes. Now it’s making the bike lanes they need Electrek

Navigating the e-bike boom with America’s outdated infrastructure – CNBC

Tampa installs a solar sidewalk to back up power for traffic signals at a downtown intersection – WUSF Radio


Final EPA Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles to Slash Dangerous Pollution and Take Key Step Toward Accelerating Zero-Emissions Future – EPA (media release)


DelDOT looking to ease the stress of Route 1 cycling – Cape Gazette

Safety For All: Equity In Moving Toward Zero Deaths – Pennsylvania DOT (blog)

Navigating the pandemic is only one of the hazards disabled people face when flying – Prism

Pilot Program In Stockton, California Aims To Increase Transportation Equity
– Bay City News Foundation

The inside story of how Portland, Oregon, tried to address decades of racist transit policies – Fast Company


Tennessee DOT Tallies Litter Cleanup Numbers – AASHTO Journal

New wildlife crossings aim to reconnect animals isolated by I-90 to north Cascades – KING-TV

MN Department of Transportation partners with farmers to help keep snow off the roads – Agweek


President Biden Announces Appointments to Route 66 Centennial Commission – White House

Hawaiian diacritical markings to be added to signs along the Leeward coast – Hawai’i Department of Transportation (media release)


Fairfax County, Virginia could put bicycles and transit on par with cars when gauging transportation needs – FFXnow

IndyGo showing off first look at new multi-use path along Purple Line – WXIN-TV

NYC plans to reimagine 5th Avenue as a ‘world-class public space’ with expanded pedestrian, bike access – Staten Island Advance

New Routes Added To U.S. Bicycle Route System, Now More Than 18,000 Miles – Forbes

Success Strategies for Metropolitan Planning Organizations – TRB (webinar)

Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades – National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Information for Decision Making – National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program: Standards for 2023-2025 and Other Changes – EPA (Proposed rule)

Approval of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Vehicle Miles Traveled Emissions Offset Demonstrations for the 2015 Ozone Standards; California – EPA (Proposed rule)

Air Plan Approval; Texas; Reasonable Further Progress Plan for the Dallas-Fort Worth Ozone Nonattainment Area – EPA (Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking)

Notification of Request for Nominations to the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council – EPA (Notice)

Notice of Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee Vacancies – Surface Transportation Board (Notice; solicitation of nominations)

Notice of Public Meetings of the Idaho Resource Advisory Council and the Lava Ridge Wind Project Subcommittee – Bureau of Land Management (Notice)

Application for Recertification of Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council – Coast Guard (Notice of availability; request for comments)

Call for Nominations for the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group Federal Advisory Committee – Bureau of Reclamation (Notice)

Hazardous Materials: Enhanced Safety Provisions for Lithium Batteries Transported by Aircraft (FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (Final rule)

Notice of Inventory Completion: Alabama Department of Transportation, Montgomery, ALNational Park Service (Notice)

Approval of LaGuardia Airport (LGA) Noise Compatibility Program – FAA (Notice)

Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Park City Wind, LLC’s Proposed Wind Energy Facility Offshore MassachusettsBureau of Ocean Energy Management (Notice; request for comments)

New Oregon DOT Program Providing Mobility Grants

The Oregon Department of Transportation recently noted that its new Innovative Mobility Program or IMP will be sending more than $87,000 in micro-grants over the next several weeks to local groups to fund the purchase of bicycle helmets and locks, transit passes for elderly and disabled riders and other mobility endeavors.

[Above photo by the Oregon DOT]

“The Innovative Mobility Program will support both existing and new projects that help expand underserved communities’ access to safe and affordable transportation,” said Karyn Criswell, administrator of Oregon DOT’s Public Transportation Division, in a statement.

She noted that the IMP has two “over-arching” goals: Reduce climate impacts by improving access to public and active transportation and investing in historically underserved groups by helping them get where they need to go. In particular, the IMP’s micro-grants seek to improve safety and access for those who walk and roll, while also making it easier to use other transportation modes besides driving alone.

“We heard many people have immediate needs but struggle to hear about or apply for funding on time,” Criswell added. “So $5,000 micro-grants will be issued on a rolling basis with no deadlines to ensure that there’s always an opportunity to access funds.”

Oregon DOT noted that the IMP would also include contracted services, a large competitive grants program, and technical assistance for prospective applicants and grant awardees. Funding for the program, totaling $20 million, comes from a combination of state and federal dollars.

The agency said the IMP’s large grants and contracts portal is expected to open in 2023. In the meantime, IMP micro-grants are available on a rolling basis and the application is available on the website.

Small organizations often serve communities with the greatest need but struggle to produce grant applications that can compete against larger organizations that serve the general population,” said Criswell. “So we’re designing a grant application process that prioritizes need and will include support for these organizations so they can be competitive in an open, public process.”

The agency added that state, regional, and local governments, public transportation providers, public schools and school districts, Native American tribes, certain nonprofits, and businesses providing community services are all eligible to apply for the IMP.

The program can fund many transportation-related activities including pedal and electric bike lending libraries and bike shares; transportation “wallets,” which offer passes and credits for use on transit, bike-share, e-scooters, ride-share, and car-share in one package; carpools and vanpools; equipment such as bike locks and helmets; training and much more.

New York Issues $23M in Transportation Electrification Funds

Governor Kathy Hochul (D) recently issued $23 million in funding and awards for transportation electrification initiatives across New York State.

[Above photo via the New York Governor’s Office]

That includes $8 million via the third round of the Direct Current Fast Charger or DCFC program funding for installing electric vehicle infrastructure. It also includes $7 million in awards to ChargePoint and EVGateway to improve EV charger access in upstate New York and $8 million to purchase electric school buses and paratransit buses under the New York Truck Voucher Incentive or NYTVI program.

The DCFC program, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, seeks proposals from EV developers and installers that have a minimum of two years of experience and at least 10 fast chargers or 200 Level 2 chargers in operation. Under this solicitation, the state will consider proposals that would develop two or more fast-charging sites, with at least half of all stations located in underserved areas.

Each site must be able to charge at least four vehicles and have a total site capacity of 600 kilowatts or more.

Additionally, each site must be located within 12 miles of Buffalo, Rochester, or Syracuse city centers, and each proposal must have at least one site located within the city limits, the governor’s office said.

Funding for both the DCFC Program and NYTVI program are part of New York State’s $127.7 million portion of the federal Volkswagen Settlement funds administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

All of those efforts support the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals of reducing carbon emissions 85 percent by 2050, with at least 35 percent of the benefits from clean energy investments directed to disadvantaged communities.

“Reducing air pollution across the state is not only crucial for improving the health of our communities, but it also presents an exciting opportunity to invest in clean transportation options,” Gov. Hochul noted in a statement.

“By putting more electric buses on the road and installing fast chargers in underserved areas, we can provide New Yorkers with access to the latest in sustainable transportation,” she added. “This not only advances equity and sustainability, but it also sets the stage for a brighter, cleaner future for all.”

“This announcement on electric charging access for underserved communities in Upstate New York reflects [our] commitment to a cleaner, greener state while providing incentives to support electric school and paratransit buses,” added Marie Therese Dominguez, commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation. “The green revolution is upon us, and with Governor Hochul’s unwavering support, New York continues to lead the way.”