Environmental News Highlights – April 21, 2021


Joint Letter to Congress Calls for ‘Generational’ Infrastructure Investment – AASHTO Journal

FAST Act reauthorization prospects dim – Transportation Today

Deep Divisions Over Transit Threaten Highway Bill Bipartisanship – Bloomberg Government

American Jobs Plan Targets Resilience, Green Tech, and Remediation to Strengthen Crumbling Infrastructure – National Review

As Biden shifts infrastructure focus to climate and racial justice, cities and states alter pitches for federal money – Washington Post


To Save the New York Subway, Send in the Crowds – Bloomberg Green

What We Learned After Analyzing 5 Months of Active Mobility Responses to COVID-19 – TheCityFix


House Republicans introduce bill to reform NEPA – Transportation Today


Hawaii Department of Transportation begins electrification with Tesla delivery – Honolulu Star-Advertiser

White House issues infrastructure report cards for all 50 states – The Hill

Pritzker Administration Announces $110 Million in Rebuild Illinois Funding for Public Ports Across Illinois – Illinois Department of Transportation (Press release)

Now is Our Opportunity to do Public Transit Differently – Newsweek (Opinion


Bethlehem unveils climate action plan that calls for net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 – Morning Call

Ethanol Groups Defend EPA’s E15 Rule – DTN/Progressive Farmer (Blog)

On Climate Change, DeSantis Focuses On Infrastructure While Ignoring Heat-Causing Emissions – Inside Climate News/WMFE

Chicago Air Quality Ordinance – City of Chicago

Environmental benefits of going solar in Vermont – Vermont Business Magazine (Commentary)


Connections: Discussing racism in American infrastructure – WXXI Radio

Environmental justice is coming to New Jersey’s suburbs – Newark Star-Ledger (Opinion)


Wetlands legislation passes, leaves little protection – KPC News

Federal Water Rule Does Not Account for Pollution Across State Boundaries – University of Texas at Austin (Press release)


‘Vision Zero failed my friend’ | Renewed push for safer DC streets after cyclist killed – WUSA-TV

NYC Teams With Bird, Lime, VeoRide For eScooter Pilot Launch – PYMNTS

Why Don’t Transit Agencies Do Bikeshare? – CityLab

Two rural Delaware towns got a new transit and ride-hailing app – StateScoop


TRB Webinar: Navigating Environmental Compliance for Public-Private Partnerships – TRB

TRB Webinar: The Day of the Drones – Airports and Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Part 2 – TRB

Driving Down Emissions: Why Reducing How Much We Drive is Critical for Our Climate – Transportation for America (Webinar announcement)


Notice of Public Meeting, Utah Resource Advisory Council, Utah – Bureau of Land Management (Notice of public meeting)

2021 Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustments for Oil, Gas, and Sulfur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (Final rule)

Drawbridge Operation Regulation; River Rouge, Detroit – Coast Guard (Final rule)

Security Zone: Electric Boat Shipyard, Groton – Coast Guard (Notice of proposed rulemaking)

Regulated Navigation Area; Biscayne Bay Causeway Island Slip, Miami Beach – Coast Guard (Notice of proposed rulemaking)

Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers and Burnham Canals, Milwaukee, WI – Coast Guard (Notice of proposed rulemaking)

Guidance Document Procedures Rescission – Council on Environmental Quality (Final rule)

National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Municipal Solid Waste Landfills Residual Risk and Technology Review; Correction – EPA (Proposed rule)

Notice of Intent To Rule on a Request To Release Surplus Property at the Myrtle Beach International Airport, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – FAA (Notice and request for comment)

Notice of Intent To Release Certain Properties From All Terms, Conditions, Reservations and Restrictions of a Quitclaim Deed Agreement Between the City of Melbourne and the Federal Aviation Administration for the Melbourne International Airport, Melbourne, FL – FAA (Request for public comment)

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Threatened Species Status, Section 4(d) Rule, and Designation of Critical Habitat for Panama City Crayfish – Fish and Wildlife Service (Proposed rule; reopening of comment period and announcement of public hearing)

Central Idaho Resource Advisory Committee – Forest Service (Notice of meeting)

Fiscal Year 2021 Competitive Research Funding Opportunity: Transit Workforce Center (TWC) – FTA (Notice of Funding Opportunity)

Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 Maritime Administration (Notice)

Proposed Revisions to the National Handbook of Conservation Practices for the Natural Resources Conservation Service – Natural Resources Conservation Service (Notice of availability; reopening and extension of comment period)

Public Hearing – Susquehanna River Basin Commission (Notice)

NYSDOT Spearheads Project to Harden Infrastructure Against Flooding

The New York State Department of Transportation is heading up a $5.4 million project to “harden” a local roadway against damage from flooding and other weather events through the state’s Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative or REDI.

[Above photo by NYSDOT.]

The project focuses on a 1,800 linear foot section of County Road 57 – a critical connection that provides the only land access to Point Peninsula, an island community within the Town of Lyme near Lake Ontario.

Resiliency measures for this project include raising the vulnerable section of roadway three feet to mitigate potential flooding and halt further road deterioration. Additionally, the agency is installing “rip rap” – a term for human-placed rock formations – to provide further protection against the impact of wind, waves, and ice formation.

“Vital infrastructure along Lake Ontario has been adversely affected from severe flooding,” explained Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) in a statement. “Through REDI, and through the State’s partnership with local governments, these critical assets are being reimagined and rebuilt to mitigate future damage and disruption, ensuring public safety and safeguarding local economies.”

“By working together with our local partners and making smart, targeted investments like this one, New York is moving forward in the battle against climate change,” added Marie Therese Dominguez, NYSDOT commissioner. “These REDI projects will harden infrastructure, mitigate flooding and assist local communities in combating the rising waters of Lake Ontario for years to come.”

Gov. Cuomo created the REDI program in the spring of 2019 in response to an “extended pattern of flooding” along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Five REDI Regional Planning Committees comprised of representatives from eight counties – Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga, Oswego, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence – work to identify “at-risk” infrastructure and public safety concerns.

The REDI Commission has to date allocated $20 million for homeowner assistance, $30 million to improve the resiliency of businesses, and $15 million toward a regional dredging effort that will benefit each of the eight counties in the REDI regions. It allocated the remaining $235 million towards local and regional projects that “advance and exemplify” the REDI mission.

Over the last two years, some 133 local and regional projects are now underway, including 107 projects in the design phase, 13 projects in the construction phase, and 13 projects completed.

NCDOT Seeks 2021 Bicycle/Pedestrian Grant Applications

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is now accepting applications from municipalities across the state for its 2021 Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative, which seeks to support the development of comprehensive bicycle or pedestrian plans. The deadline for applications is June 30.

[Above photo by the NCDOT.]

In terms of specifics, NCDOT said in a statement that while all North Carolina municipalities are eligible to apply for that funding, counties with populations of less than 50,000 could apply for a bicycle or pedestrian plan while smaller municipalities with populations of less than 10,000 can apply to develop combined bicycle and pedestrian plans.   

Additionally, municipalities with populations of​​ ​less than 5,000 may apply for a Project Acceleration Plan – an abbreviated plan primarily focusing on priority project identification and implementation – while municipalities and counties with populations of less than 50,000 with a bicycle or pedestrian plan already in place can apply to update their plan if it is at least five years old. 

NCDOT’s bicycle and pedestrian planning grant program – sponsored by the department’s Integrated Mobility Division and the Transportation Planning Division since 2004 – usually awards a total of $7 million on a yearly basis.

The agency added that it is hosting a short webinar on May 12 to provide further details about its bicycle/pedestrian grant program and answer questions from potential applicants.  

States across the country are broadly working on ways to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

For example, a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association showed that while pedestrian fatalities trended up in the first half of 2020, it noted how several state-directed efforts are successfully improving pedestrian safety.

GHSA’s report noted that most pedestrians are killed on local roads, in the dark, and away from intersections – suggesting the need for safer road crossings and increased efforts to make pedestrians more visible through improved lighting and other countermeasures.

The National Transportation Safety Board reported similar findings during a hearing in November 2019. As a result, that agency called for more “concerted action” from federal and state agencies to improve bicyclist safety – and, by extension, that of pedestrians – via improvements to roadway infrastructure, enhanced bicyclist conspicuity, and the “mitigation of head injuries” to bicyclists through mandatory helmet laws.