Environmental News Highlights – February 15, 2023


Biden Touts Infrastructure in State-of-the-Union Speech – AASHTO Journal

Mobility Study Cites Roadblocks for U.S. Electric Vehicles, Sustainable Aviation – Reuters

State and Local Governments Face Persistent Infrastructure Investment Challenges – Pew

White House unveils plan to boost use of U.S.-made goods in infrastructure – Reuters

Republican Policymakers Spotlight Autonomous Vehicles’ Benefits – Transport Topics


How Hawaii DOT Plans for Resilience – AASHTO Journal (podcast)

Electric Vehicle Charging Networks Trend Toward Convenience – Government Technology

Kansas Lawmakers Want To Tax Public EV Charging – Green Car Reports

Planned EV fees aim to replace Vt. gas tax revenue – WCAX-TV

Nebraska DOT seeking information for electric vehicle charging network – KETV-TV


Colorado Emissions Reduction Plan Ties Sustainable Transportation to State Funding – Planetizen

FHWA to Start Funding Program to Lower Truck Emissions at Ports – Transport Topics

Here’s how lawmakers want to fix Utah’s terrible air quality – Salt Lake Tribune

$150m public health benefit from electrification of Port of New York and New Jersey – Seatrade Maritime News

Five Powerhouse Climate Policies Can Rapidly Slash Emissions And Strengthen The Economy In Any State – Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology (Commentary)


FTA Funding Research into ‘Transportation Insecurity’ – AASHTO Journal

IATA: Airline Passengers With Disabilities Should Travel With Dignity – eTurboNews

Kalamazoo, Holland, other cities to make rail stations ADA compliant after settlement – MLive


‘Slow down’: Colorado mountain residents concerned over wildlife deaths caused by trains – KMGH-TV

‘A national scandal’: how US climate funding could make water pollution worse – The Guardian


Google Maps is getting this new ‘immersive’ view. Here’s why it might be useful – ZDNET

How The Los Angeles Crosswalk Collective Is Trying To Make Streets Safer … Their Own Way – LAist


Just two hours spent in traffic fumes impairs brain function – Sustainability Times

Researchers find a link between traffic noise and tinnitus – University of Southern Denmark

Richardson, Texas looking to add 54 miles of bike trails for new transportation network Community Impact

A tale of trails: Colorado bike riders, advocates consider options for getting around Fort Lupton Press

Efficiency Maine may add electric bikes to its rebate program – Sun Journal

How E-Bike Rebates Will Make Cycling Safer – CityLab

A call for integrating active transportation into physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines – The Lancet (Commentary)


Planning and Environment Linkages: Review of Statutory Authority and Case Law – NCHRP

Strategies to Reduce Highway Traffic NoiseTRB (webinar)


Guidance for Grants and Agreements – OMB (Proposed rule; notification of proposed guidance)

Major Disaster Declarations and Related Determinations: Expiration of COVID–19-Related Measures FEMA (Notice)

Notice of Intent To Prepare a Joint Draft Environmental Impact Statement/ Environmental Impact Report for the Proposed Searsville Watershed Restoration Project, Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, CA – Army Corps of Engineers (Notice)

Air Plan Approval; NC; Transportation Conformity – EPA (Proposed rule)

Proposed Consent Decree, Clean Air Act Citizen Suit – EPA (Notice; request for public comment)

Moore County Solar Environmental Impact Statement – TVA (Record of decision)

Notice of Meeting of the National Parks Overflights Advisory Group – FAA (Notice)

Notice of Joint and Individual Colorado Resource Advisory Council Meetings – Bureau of Land Management (Notice)

Video: How State DOTs Address Risk and Resilience

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recently issued a video report on a “risk and resilience” knowledge session held during its 2022 Annual Meeting in Orlando.

[Above photo by AASHTO]

That knowledge session – sponsored by the American Concrete Pipe Association (ACPA) – examined how state departments of transportation address risk and resilience through their asset management plans.

Josh Beakley, ACPA vice president of engineering, moderated a panel of state DOT executives who shared their risk and resilience strategies as part of the knowledge session.

Those panelists included: Jennifer Carver, statewide community planning coordinator for Florida DOT; Pam Cotter, acting administrator of planning for Rhode Island DOT; Sandy Hertz, director of the Office of Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation at Maryland DOT; and Nathan Lee, director of technology and innovation at Utah DOT.

Risk and resilience are two issues the state DOT community regularly addresses as part of their strategic planning initiatives and are part of the key emphasis areas of AASHTO President Roger Millar, who is also the secretary of the Washington Department of Transportation.

Making the nation’s transportation system more resilient has been a major focus for Millar for much of his career.

He explained during a recent roundtable discussion at the 2023 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting that “resiliency” involves more than just toughening up infrastructure to withstand severe weather events and natural disasters.

“Resilience is a broad part of what we do in my world,” Millar said. “Many think of resilience in the context of climate change and natural disaster response, but to me, it is also about the need to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions such as shifting demographics, an aging population that will drive fewer cars, and economic changes such as moving from extraction industries like forestry and mining to technology and software companies.”

RIDOT Fully Converts to Energy-Efficient LED Lights

Governor Dan McKee (D) recently saluted the Rhode Island Department of Transportation for being the first state agency to fully convert its lighting resources to energy-efficient light-emitting diode or LED lights.

[Above photo by RIDOT]

The LED switchover project – the result of several years of collaboration between the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) and RIDOT – includes lighting at 23 RIDOT maintenance facilities and the retrofit of over 9,000 streetlights.

Combined, RIDOT said it should save over $1 million a year on electricity costs and an estimated $14 million over the life of these more efficient lighting systems. They also will save nearly 55,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

“I thank RIDOT and OER for their hard work and commitment to conserving energy through this comprehensive conversion to efficient LED technology,” Gov. McKee said in a statement. “In addition to dollars saved, this will contribute to the state’s green energy goals and commitment to meet the goal of the state’s ‘Act on Climate’ while reducing RIDOT’s carbon footprint.”

“This is a journey we have been on for the past several years, first with our streetlights and now with our facilities,” added RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. “We are proud to lead the way with this energy-saving initiative that will not only save money but reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”

Photo courtesy of RIDOT

Gov. McKee noted that OER is spearheading an energy- and emission-reduction effort among state agencies and municipal governments via its “Lead by Example Program.”  That program has helped Rhode Island state agencies successfully lower energy consumption by 12.7 percent in 2022 compared to 2014, with 60 percent of state-owned buildings either converted or in the process of converting to LED lighting and 95 percent of state government electricity consumption being offset by renewables.

Other state departments of transportation are deploying LEDs to help reduce energy consumption in different areas.

For example, the Arizona Department of Transportation upgraded the lighting system inside the Interstate 10 Deck Park Tunnel north of downtown Phoenix in March 2021. The agency replaced the “old style” high-pressure sodium lighting system in the Deck Park Tunnel – which originally opened in August 1990 – with 3,200 LED fixtures for a cost of roughly $1.4 million. The agency said the new LED fixtures – expected to last more than twice as long as their sodium predecessors – should result in energy savings worth more than $175,000 per year; savings that, over time, will help pay for the cost of installing the new LED-based tunnel system.