Environmental News Highlights – January 12, 2022


Top White House environmental justice official to depart post – CNN

Five Parts of the Infrastructure Bill You Might Have Missed – Government Technology

US AGs Call for ‘Prompt Suspension’ of LNG Transport by Rail Rules – Natural Gas Intelligence

Amtrak struggles to recover from winter weather challenges – Trains

As spending bill stalls, Biden climate goals remain elusive – Washington Post


What the Pandemic’s ‘Open Streets’ Really Revealed – Bloomberg CityLab

Transit agencies concerned about impact of Omicron variantRT&S

Gallup: U.S. air travel still down as working adults curtail tripsUPI


Lake Restoration Solutions begins NEPA assessment process – Daily Herald

Attorney General Bonta Asks Ninth Circuit to Review Ruling in Litigation Challenging San Bernardino Warehouse Project – California Attorney General (Media Release)


After I-95 fiasco, a ‘road weather’ expert digs into snow, ice and jackknifed trucks – Washington Post

Lessons from Washington Metro, America’s Last Great Subway System – Governing

Why Infrastructure is First Step in Electric Vehicle Transition – Trucks.com

In frozen ports on Lake Superior, it’s up to tug operators to keep shipping channels open – Park Rapids Enterprise

Waze adds EV charging station locations to its driving map – Mashable

Kansas City Airport installs wireless electric bus charging system – Future Travel Experience


With executive order, governor targets transportation for next NC emissions cutsNews & Observer

How Six States Could Transform the U.S. Trucking Industry – CityLab

GM recognizes California’s authority to set vehicle emissions rules – Reuters

Pollution in the West: ‘You could travel a hundred miles and not find air quality that is any better’ -Deseret News


Public Transit Systems Refocus on Their Core Riders – Wired

Maine grants to improve senior transportation in rural areas – AP

Public Transit Systems Refocus on Their Core RidersWired

Oakland Gives $150 Prepaid Cards for Use on Transit, Bike, Scooter Programs – Bay City News


Florida has lost 44% of its wetlands since 1845. What is the environmental impact? – Northwest Florida Daily News


Europe to put bicycles front and center in mobility plans – Momentum

What happened to the 1,300 Lime bikes that vanished from South Bend? – South Bend Tribune

Transit, cycling and pedestrian improvements begin as part of BC’s Highway 99 Tunnel Program – Mass Transit

Houston bike share hopes to expand transportation options in underserved communities – KUHF Radio

How e-mobility is driving a foundational shift in transportation – Intelligent Transport

Electric bicycles, scooters, hoverboards banned from St. Pete Beach – St. Pete Catalyst

Ozarks Transportation Organization seeks input on sidewalks & on-street bicycle and pedestrian lanes – KYTV-TV


TRB Annual Meeting And The Sustainability and Emerging Transportation Technology Conference Conference Preview – AASHTO’s ETAP Podcast

Transportation in an Aging Society – The Future is Now – TRB (Webinar)

How universities and the Transportation Research Board find solutions together through science and innovationThinking Transportation (Podcast)


Regional Infrastructure Accelerator Demonstration Program – Build America Bureau, USDOT (Notice of funding opportunity)

Ozark National Scenic Riverways; Motorized VesselsNational Park Service (Proposed rule)

Membership in the National Parks Overflights Advisory Group – FAA (Solicitation of applications)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Public Comment on the Annotated Outline of the Fifth National Climate Assessment – NOAA (Notice of request for public comment)

Two Governors Unveil ‘Clean Transportation’ Executive Orders

The governors of North Carolina and Connecticut recently issued executive orders that mandate the formation of “clean transportation” plans to reduce greenhouse gas or GHG emissions in their respective states.

[Above photo by the NCDOT]

Governor Roy Cooper (D) issued an executive order on January 7 that includes a directive to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to develop a North Carolina Clean Transportation Plan for decarbonizing the transportation sector through reductions in vehicle miles traveled, an increase in zero-emission cars, trucks, and buses, along with other GHG-reduction strategies.

“Transforming North Carolina toward a clean energy and more equitable economy will provide good jobs and a healthy environment for generations of families across our state,” Gov. Cooper said in a statement. “This order will assess our progress reducing climate pollution, and direct ways to curb environmental injustices, increase clean transportation options, and build more resilient communities in North Carolina.”

Gov. Cooper by NCDOT

The governor’s order updates North Carolina’s economy-wide carbon reduction emissions goals to “align with climate science, reduce pollution, create good jobs and protect communities,” while increasing the statewide GHG reduction goal to 50 percent when compared to the state’s 2005 levels.

The order calls for the increase in registered zero-emission vehicles to a total of 1.25 million by 2030, with 50 percent of sales of new vehicles in North Carolina to be zero-emission by that same year.

“This executive order ensures our state is preparing for and supporting emerging technologies,” added J. Eric Boyette, NCDOT’s secretary. “We are committed to working with our state and local partners to develop a clean transportation plan – one that will benefit all North Carolinians.”

Gov. Cooper’s order mirrors a similar one issued by Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (D) in December 2021.

Gov. Lamont’s order directs Connecticut executive branch state agencies to take “significant actions” within their authority to reduce carbon emissions.

“Climate change is here, and it’s only going to get worse if we don’t take meaningful action,” he said in a statement. “In September [2021], a bad progress report showed that we’re in danger of missing our statutory greenhouse gas reduction goals, so we need to roll up our sleeves and do the necessary work to improve. That work starts with us in the executive branch, and that’s why I’m directing our state agencies to take these actions.”

That “progress report” – officially known as Connecticut’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report – shows that GHG emissions from the state’s transportation and building sectors are increasing, meaning that Connecticut is not on track to meet its interim 2030 target.

Gov. Lamont by the Connecticut Governor’s Office

Gov. Lamont said the state must take “aggressive action” where possible within existing authority to reduce carbon emissions, and that is why he is directing a whole-of-government approach with his executive order and calling on the Connecticut General Assembly to authorize expanded investment and de-carbonization programs.

Transportation measures within the governor’s order include the creation of a statewide battery-powered electric bus fleet; the funding of “shovel-ready” infrastructure resilience projects; plus regulating emissions from medium and heavy-duty vehicles.

It also directs the Connecticut Department of Transportation to cease buying directly or provide state funding to third parties for the purchase of diesel buses by the end of 2023 and create an implementation plan for full bus fleet electrification by 2035. It also directs the Connecticut DOT to set a statewide 2030 Vehicle Miles Traveled or VMT reduction target.

“Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Connecticut, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation can be the biggest driver to reduce air pollutants,” noted Joseph Giulietti, commissioner of the Connecticut DOT.

“Connecticut families and communities, especially the ones most vulnerable and historically underserved, deserve clean transportation,” he added. “The [Connecticut] DOT will do our part, while listening to and working with our partners in health, and equity and environmental justice, to ensure our efforts have a positive impact on all people.”

WSDOT Unveils Final Statewide Active Transportation Plan

The Washington State Department of Transportation recently unveiled its complete statewide active transportation plan to address what Governor Jay Inslee (D) called “multiple challenges” facing the state.

[Above photo by the WSDOT]

“We need a greener future for our children and grandchildren and walking and cycling represent the cleanest and greenest modes of travel,” said the governor said in a statement.

“We also need to make our system accessible for those people who can’t drive and who rely on walking or rolling to transit to get where they need to go,” Gov. Inslee added. “These multimodal journeys also contribute to our climate goals. I’m proud of our state for creating a bold plan to create safer and more accessible active transportation connections for all Washingtonians.”

WSDOT completed its plan with a two-part process, collecting public comment on part one in May 2021 and on its two final chapters in late fall 2021. The plan serves as a compass for charting the way toward a truly multimodal transportation system, the agency said

“Active transportation plays an essential role in a fully multimodal transportation system,” noted Roger Millar, WSDOT’s secretary. “Almost 30 percent of the trips we take each day are less than a mile in length, yet we often drive because there is no safe alternative. We need to make it safer for people who are just trying to cross the street or ride their bike to school or work or to the store.”

Millar – who also serves as the 2021-2022 vice president for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials – added that with this plan, his state is “pointing the way to where and how we could invest in the system that works for everyone, no matter how they get around.”

Key parts of the plan include:

  • Assessment of the needs for accessible pedestrian and bicyclist facilities, highlighting safety concerns and providing the first-ever examination of state right-of-way and its suitability for active transportation.
  • New metrics for tracking and reporting progress that emphasize the importance of complete and accessible walk/bike facilities and connections to transit and other modes.
  • Calculations regarding the environmental, health and economic benefits to society when people shift trips from driving to walking or cycling.
  • Construction of a “rational approach” to prioritizing safety and operational performance needs on state highways as part of the overall networks people use to reach their destinations to help guide future transportation investment plans.
  • Incorporation of a “Safe System Approach,” which emphasizes using engineering approaches that acknowledge humans make mistakes and that crashes with greater impact force are more deadly, especially for vulnerable road users.

WSDOT said the plan notes that improvements for people walking, rolling, or cycling provide more information to drivers as well. It provides examples such as pedestrian-scale lighting and crossing visibility so drivers can see and stop in time.

It also includes designs that provide a “self-enforcing road” to help people drive at the appropriate speed for a place with a mix of destinations and people walking or cycling.