Environmental News Highlights – February 24, 2021


Buttigieg: After COVID-19 Relief, an Infrastructure Policy -Transport Topics

Buttigieg sets goals for electric, automated freight vehicles -The Hill

Democrats May Invoke Congressional Review Act to Reverse Recent EPA Rules – National Law Review

For the first time the US DOT is carving out budget for climate and environmental justice projects – TechCrunch

Spin doctors have shaped the environmentalism debate for decades – Washington Post (Opinion)


Post-Covid, Transit Agencies Must Look Beyond Ridership – CityLab

Feature Article: NYC Initiatives are a Model for Safeguarding the Nation’s Public Transit Systems – DHS Science and Technology Directorate


Environmental Enforcement Outlook on Climate Change, NEPA and Emerging Contaminants and Chemical Safety – Morgan Lewis (Blog)


Ohio’s Infrastructure Earns a ‘C-‘ Grade on Engineers’ Report Card – WKSU

‘It better be environmentally friendly’: UDOT working on better transportation in Little Cottonwood Canyon – KTVX-TV

SEPTA solar farm project now operational – Progressive Railroading

America’s Brittle Infrastructure Is on Display in Texas – New York Magazine

Florida celebrates sea level rise planning tool after years ‘behind the curve – Tampa Bay Times


EPA abandons Clean Power Plan, saying reinstatement “would not make sense” – Indiana Environmental Reporter

Washington Department of Ecology Preparing New Rule to Assess Greenhouse Gas Emissions – National Law Review

Connecticut Gov. Lamont unveils environmental priorities amid dispute over impact on gasoline prices – Hartford Courant


How Biden’s Environmental Justice Order Might Work – E&E News

Issues Of The Environment: Commemorating 30 Years Of The Environmental Justice MovementWEMU

Gov. Gavin Newsom is at a crossroads on climate action and environmental justice – Sacramento Bee (Opinion)


$194 million in five years: Vermont chips away at clean water goals – VTDigger

Healthy rivers: Communities use DNA tool to keep tabs on freshwater quality – The Conversation

Deregulation of wetlands a bad idea – Herald Bulletin (Editorial)


City Council discusses proposed “demolition by neglect” ordinance – Wyoming Tribune Eagle


Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission tool identifies potential transportation centers in 10-county region – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In Key Step for the Great Redwood Trail, NCRA Board Votes To Railbank the Line from Willits to Samoa – Lost Coast Outpost

Bicycle and pedestrian improvements planned by SCDOT – Moultrie News

Missoula’s new transportation plan heavy on bike lanes, trails; new interchange out – Missoula Current


U.S. Department of Transportation Announces FY 2021 Round of the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Grant Program – USDOT

Gaps in FAA’s Oversight of the AIP State Block Grant Program Contribute to Adherence Issues and Increase Risks – USDOT Inspector General

Webinar: Introduction to National Institute for Congestion Reduction (NICR) – National Institute for Congestion Reduction


FY 2021 Competitive Funding Opportunity: Low or No Emission Grant Program – FTA (Notice of funding opportunity)

Ocean Dumping: Modification of an Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site Offshore of Humboldt Bay, California – EPA (Final rule)

Air Plan Approval; OR; Smoke Management Revision – EPA (Proposed rule)

National Environmental Policy Act Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Council on Environmental Quality (Notice of rescission of draft guidance)

Connecticut DOT Report Outlines Key States Pedestrian Safety Strategies

The Connecticut Department of Transportation recently issued a 24-page report outlining key tactics and programs to increase pedestrian safety statewide as both national trends and state data points highlight the need to address pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

[Above photo of Bridgeport, CT, intersection by Doug Kerr.]

Nationally, pedestrian fatalities are increasing more than any other type of traffic fatality, according to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Meanwhile, in Connecticut over the past five years, the state averaged about 58 pedestrian fatalities annually – with preliminary 2020 crash data indicating 65 pedestrian fatalities occurred on state roadways.

“Far too many families have been impacted by a crash that resulted in a pedestrian fatality or serious injury,” said noted Joseph Giulietti, Connecticut DOT commissioner, in a statement. “[We] remain committed to working with our municipal partners to tackle the challenge of pedestrian safety, which will make our roadways safer for all that use them.”

Referencing NHTSA data, the Connect DOT said there has been a 53 percent increase in pedestrian deaths nationally between 2009 and 2018. The agency said there are several “significant factors” behind that spike in overall U.S. pedestrian fatalities including:

  • An increasing number of people are choosing to walk and be active outside, increasing the number of pedestrians on the streets.
  • An increased percentage of vehicles on the road are comprised of larger Sport Utility Vehicles and pick-up trucks, which can inflict more serious injuries to pedestrians.
  • An increased use of smartphones, increasing the potential for distractions.
  • Increased incidences of impaired driving and walking.

To counteract those trends, the Connecticut DOT’s report recommends what it calls a “four-pronged approach” to help reduce pedestrian risk and thereby increase safety:

  • Reduce and better manage traffic speeds in areas with significant pedestrian activity.
  • Implement safer roadway designs for crosswalks, intersections, and streets.
  • Increase public awareness campaigns to promote safer, less risky pedestrian behaviors.

Align policies and programs that strengthen the state’s roadway safety program for motorists and non-motorists alike.

Nevada DOT Roadway Work Includes Floodplain Improvements

Department of Transportation launches the “next phase” of major reconstruction of Great Basin Boulevard and East Aultman Street in Ely, NV, the agency is placing a particular focus on floodplain improvements.

[Above graphic by Nevada DOT.]

First, to enhance drainage in preparation for the roadway improvements, Nevada DOT crews constructed nearly 2,300 feet of concrete drainage pipe and open drainage channel in 2020 in order to convey stormwater from near the Orson Avenue and North Street intersection to Murry Creek. The agency added in a statement that those drainage improvements will continue as part of the project in 2021 and, when coupled with Great Basin Boulevard drainage improvements slated for 2021 as well, the work is the first step toward reducing floodplain limits and associated flooding concerns.

The overall project – overseen by the Nevada DOT in partnership with the City of Ely – is to reconstruct deteriorated local roadways while also upgrading the city’s water and sewer facilities. Planned upgrades alongside the floodplain improvements include a “complete streets” concept to reconstruct sections of Aultman Street and Great Basin Boulevard and reconfigure lanes to provide a safer route for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.