Environmental News Highlights – March 3, 2021


AASHTO President Sheehan Testifies Before Senate EPW Committee – AASHTO Journal

AASHTO, Adventure Cycling Formalize Partnership to Reach 50,000-Mile National Bike Route System – AASHTO Journal

Cedric Richmond: Infrastructure Bill is the Next Order of Business – AASHTO Journal

House Transportation Republicans Urge Bipartisan Policymaking – Transport Topics

Business groups rally around green infrastructure plans – The Hill


DHS, New York’s MTA Studying Transit Spread of COVID-19 – AASHTO Journal

WisDOT podcast features pandemic-specific safety tips for highway travel across Midwest states – Milwaukee Independent

More biking, fewer trains: Survey examines the pandemic’s effects on mobility in the D.C. region – Washington Post


Top Bottlenecks Less Congested Last Year, but Infrastructure Needs Persist, ATRI Finds – Transport Topics

Wisconsin receives low grade on infrastructure – WAOW-TV

Port of Milwaukee ice-breaking tugboat sinks – WISN-TV

Skokie officials provide updates on environmental sustainability efforts – Chicago Tribune

SC Senate approves borrowing $550M for Charleston port – WCSC-TV

More than $100 Million Going to Rural Communities for Infrastructure Improvements – Indiana DOT (Press release)


In A Blow To Environmental Justice Advocates, State Regulators Approve Controversial East Boston Substation – WBUR

The origins of environmental justice-and why it’s finally getting the attention it deserves – National Geographic

Highways that destroyed Black neighborhoods are crumbling. Some want to undo that legacy – CNN


800-pound bulls in Trabuco Canyon help restore environment – Orange County Register

San Rafael kicks off environmental review of marsh restoration project Marin Independent Journal

Old Ohio amusement park becomes new wetland restoration project – Great Lakes Echo

Wyoming road kill bill could be a boon for taxidermists but raises highway safety concerns – Oil City News

Tourism, ODOT Partner to Take Oklahomans Fishing – Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department, and Oklahoma Department of Transportation


Traffic Noise Is a Silent Killer – The Atlantic

Residents in the region want to walk and bike more, and drive less after COVID-19, a “Voices of the Region” survey suggests – Greater Greater Washington

Bicyclists wanted: Rapid City seeks input for bicycle-friendly community survey – KEVN-TV

Conservation Department explores allowing bicycles on conservation-area service roads – News Tribune

The growing importance of bike infrastructure – Sonoma Gazette


The Role of Transit, Shared Modes, and Public Policy in the New Mobility Landscape – TRB

TRB Webinar: Visualizing Effects of COVID-19 on Transportation: A One-Year Retrospective – TRB

TRB Webinar: Measuring Resiliency – Tools for Analyzing Resilient Transportation Systems – TRB

TRB Webinar: Transportation Impacts in Managing Retreat from High-Risk Areas – TRB

Seeking project panel nominations for FY 2021 Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP): Nominations due March 15 – TRB

Propose New Topics for the 2021 TCRP Synthesis Program: Submissions due March 19 – TRB

One-Day Summit on Accelerating Active Transportation Change in Northern Virginia – George Mason University

2021 Future of Commuting Summit – Association for Commuter Transportation (Webinar)

Call for Session Presentation Topics – National Association of State Aviation Officials

Thinking Transportation: TTI’s New Podcast Explores the Future of Transportation – Texas A&M Transportation Institute


Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Department of Transportation’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Program for Fiscal Year 2021 – Office of the Secretary of Transportation (Notice of funding opportunity)

State Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Action Plans; Correction – FRA (Correcting amendment)

Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Savannah River, Savannah, GA – Coast Guard (Notice of proposed rulemaking)

Approval and Promulgation of State Plans for Designated Facilities; New York; Section 111(d) State Plan for MSW Landfills – Environmental Protection Agency (Proposed rule)

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl; Delay of Effective Date – Fish and Wildlife Service (Final rule; delay of effective date and request for comments)

ETAP Podcast: Women in Transportation with Paula Hammond

In this episode of the ETAP Podcast, Paula Hammond – market leader-multimodal at consulting firm WSP USA and a former secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation – talks about the career challenges and opportunities for women in the transportation industry.

[Photo of Paula Hammond courtesy of WSP USA.]

Hammond – a civil engineer who spent 34 years at WSDOT, eventually becoming the state’s first woman secretary – said on the podcast she joined the transportation industry right out of college because “transportation touches people’s lives every single day. And while I never knew I would stay in this field as long as I have, every position I’ve held has been different and gratifying.”

Hammond said that America is now in a “transformational period” when it comes to transportation, which is providing a wider array of professional disciplines and job choices than ever before to women – everything from “planning and communicating positions to environmental and scientific fields.”

She added that state departments of transportation around the country now have CEOs and top lieutenants in place with “expectations” regarding the advancement of women in the transportation industry and are providing provide resources and mentorships to help further those advancement efforts.

“That is how I progressed in my career – I had great opportunities and mentoring along the way, supporting my progression through the agency,” she said. “I paid my dues and got my experience.” 

Hammond – who also serves as the chair for the WTS International board of directors – also helped lead a survey of anti-human trafficking efforts among state DOTs for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, which is overseen by the Transportation Research Board. “We’ve found that state DOTs can supply data, knowledge, and expertise to law enforcement to help stop human trafficking,” she explained in a presentation two years ago. “So our next step, as we move from the broad survey to more detailed interviews and case studies with state DOTs active in this area, is to help others learn ‘best practices’ from them as well as how to fill any existing gaps.”

Florida DOT Highlights March as Bicycle Month

The Florida Department of Transportation is kicking off its celebration of Florida Bicycle Month this March by highlight its online resources for bicycle safety and its ongoing commitment to spend $100 million on street intersection lighting for people biking and walking to improve safety.

[Photo courtesy of the Florida Department of Transportation.]

That’s because, statewide, the agency said over half of traffic crashes resulting in serious or fatal injuries to pedestrians and/or bicyclists occur during dark or dusk hours.

Begun in 2016, the Florida DOT’s five-year, $100 million effort is retrofitting existing and proposed lighting fixtures to light emitting diode or LED fixtures to boost illumination levels at signalized intersections in corridors with a high frequency of nighttime crashes resulting in serious injuries and fatalities to pedestrians and bicyclists.

The agency said that lighting upgrade effort is now also part of its Complete Streets program, adopted in 2018.

“Whether you bike to work or school, or for recreation, everyone has a right to arrive at their destination safely,” explained Kevin Thibault, Florida DOT secretary, in a statement – noting that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) recently signed a proclamation recognizing March as Florida Bicycle Month. “While taking advantage of Florida’s unique scenery and landscape, the department encourages all bicyclists to always be aware of their surroundings, follow the rules of the road, and never ride distracted,” Thibault said.