Environmental News Highlights – August 10, 2022


Every State DOT Formally Submits EV Infrastructure Plans – AASHTO Journal

Senate Approves Democrats’ Sweeping Climate and Health Bill – Route Fifty

White House Summit Champions Advanced Air Mobility National Business Aviation Association

Biden administration announces initiative to improve wastewater sanitation in underserved rural communities – The Hill

States to Target Lower Transportation Emissions Under Proposed Rule – Governing

10 Ways the Biden-⁠Harris Administration Is Making America Resilient to Climate Change – White House (Fact sheet)


Diary of a Pandemic Bus Driver – CityLab

Transportation Department proposes stricter rules for airline refunds after complaints surge – CNBC


Oregon DOT Begins South Coast Landslide StudyKPIC-TV

Georgia officials want federal help to pay for electric vehicle infrastructure – The Center Square

We haven’t built for this climate – Axios

Think Your Street Needs a Redesign? Ask an AI – CityLab

Groundbreaking marks construction of new Portal Bridge – WCBS-TV (Link to video)

CTDOT Submits National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan – Connecticut DOT (Media release)


U.S. fuel retailers rail against green aviation fuel tax credit – Reuters

How Businesses Can Help Reshape Urban Transportation To Improve Air Quality – Forbes (Op-ed)


Implementing Equity in the Transportation Industry – AASHTO Journal (link to video)

A Tree Planter’s Guide to Environmental Justice – North Carolina State University

Automated vehicles and underserved populations – University of Texas at Arlington


Louisiana DOTD Initiates Tree Replacement Program – AASHTO Journal

The End of Snow Threatens to Upend 76 Million American Lives – Bloomberg

EPA Kicks Off Tour of Iconic Waters, Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act – EPA (Media release)

Colorado’s newest wildlife overpass and underpass provide safe passage for wildlife and motorists – Colorado DOT (Media release)


Change in vacation habits placing strain on Gulf Coast traffic – WPMI-TV


As more states legalize pot, safety advocates issue guidelines to keep people from getting high and drivingPittsburgh Post-Gazette

Everyone loves e-bikes – except some who have to share roads with them – Washington Post

Gates installed to slow bike traffic on busy Park City, Utah trails – KPCW Radio

Amid a summer of more cyclists and fatal crashes, advocates push for better bike infrastructure – WGRZ-TV

Downtown Tampa has e-scooters, bikes and streetcars. Ready for golf carts? – Tampa Bay Times


Growing the Impacts of Climate-Smart Agriculture – National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Toward a Touchless Airport Journey – TRB


Update to U.S. DOT FY22 Safe Streets and Roads for All Funding – Office of the Secretary of
Transportation, USDOT (Amendment to FY22 Notice of Funding Opportunity)

Noise Exposure Map Notice: Receipt of Noise Compatibility Program and Request for ReviewFAA (Notice)

Request for Comments in Minimum Seat Dimensions Necessary for Safety of Air Passengers (Emergency Evacuation) – FAA (Notice)

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

Environmental Justice Scorecard FeedbackCouncil on Environmental Quality (Request for information)

Federal Railroad Administration Notice of Final Agency Actions on Proposed Railroad Project in California – FRA (Notice)

Notice of Availability of the Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment for the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Funding Opportunity – Natural Resources Conservation Service (Notice of availability and finding of no significant impact)

Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Ocean Wind, LLC’s Proposed Wind Energy Facility Offshore New Jersey; Extension of Comment Period – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (Draft environmental impact statement; extension of comment period)

Notice of Availability of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group Final Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #8: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats and Finding of No Significant Impact – NOAA (Notice)

Notice of Teleconference Meeting of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Public Advisory Committee – Office of the Secretary of Interior (Notice)

PennDOT Helps Launch New Anti-Littering Effort

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation joined several fellow state agencies to help launch a new anti-litter campaign entitled “PA Fights Dirty: Every Litter Bit Matters.” The creation of this campaign is one of the many recommendations made by Pennsylvania’s first-ever Litter Action Plan, released in December 2021. That plan also won a Pennsylvania Governor’s Awards for Excellence in May.

[Above photo by PennDOT]

“Every Litter Bit Matters” seeks to get state residents to ensure every piece of their trash, regardless of size, is disposed of properly as research shows only 3 percent of Pennsylvanians approve of littering, yet 40 to 50 percent of them admit to littering roadways and other public areas. “Every Litter Bit Matters” also seeks to educate state residents about “situational littering,” such as leaving trash on the ground next to a full can or in a stadium, as well as reminding them that litter of all sizes stacks up and creates problems.

PennDOT noted that a 2019 Litter Research Study found that Pennsylvania has more than 500 million pieces of litter on its roadways, with more than 85 percent of those pieces measuring less than four inches in size. That study also found that litter-related cleanup costs currently total around $350 million each year.

PennDOT Secretary Yasmin Gramian

“As a commonwealth, we recognize we need to change behavior, not just clean up the mess,” noted PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian in a statement. “With our collective efforts and this litter-prevention campaign, we are confident we can reduce litter in Pennsylvania.”

“Litter isn’t just ugly to look at. It can cause environmental contamination and put public health at risk,” added Ramez Ziadeh, acting secretary for Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection. “Litter can leach chemicals into our land and water, and act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus.”

The campaign also features a new Young Ambassadors Program – formed as part of a new partnership between PennDOT and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful or KPB – that aims to involve rising 10th- through 12th-grade students to help with the state’s litter clean-up plans.

The students – chosen through a competitive process – will commit to nine months of service in representing and upholding the mission and values of KPB. Other responsibilities include attending a virtual orientation, four virtual education and training workshops, and up to two virtual networking events, organizing and participating in at least one community cleanup event through Pick Up Pennsylvania, conducting one community education event targeting youth in the student’s community and promoting participation on social media.

From September 2022 through May 2023, Young Ambassadors will build community stewardship by inspiring, engaging, and empowering Pennsylvanians to keep their communities clean and develop civic leadership to advocate for clean and beautiful communities across Pennsylvania, PennDOT added.

Pennsylvania’s new anti-litter campaign is one of several similar state-level efforts recently initiatives in different parts of the country.

In July, Ohio launched a new litter control program launched — one administered by the Ohio Department of Transportation – that seeks to broaden engagement by the business community in its trash removal efforts.

That new Ohio program allows businesses and groups to fund litter removal services along one-mile, one-direction segments of state highways. In exchange for their sponsorship, Ohio DOT displays the name of the business or group on a sign within their sponsored segment.

Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Transportation recruited popular singer, songwriter, and actor Joe Jonas to star in a series of Public Service Announcements as part of the agency’s “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti-littering campaign.

The agency said the “show-stopping” performer – a former Westlake, Texas, resident – takes an “over-the-top” approach in the PSAs to remind folks to keep Texas roadways free of litter.

The “Don’t Mess with Texas” litter prevention program – originally started back in 1986 – includes a grassroots partnership with “Keep Texas Beautiful, annual “Trash-Off” community outreach events, and the Adopt-a-Highway volunteer program.

USDOT Seeks Input for Thriving Communities Initiative

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a request for information or RFI on August 5 to get feedback from industry stakeholders regarding its new Thriving Communities Initiative, which the agency plans to launch this fall. Comments are due by August 26.

[Above photo by New Jersey DOT]

The agency said this new program – created by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted in November 2021 – seeks to provide technical assistance and “hands-on” planning to support “transformative infrastructure projects” serving disadvantaged communities across the country.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD is providing complementary technical assistance as part of the Thriving Communities program, USDOT added, to improve the coordination of housing and transportation planning to advance residents’ access to opportunity and increase housing supply. 

USDOT said it defines “technical assistance” to include programs, processes, and resources that provide targeted support, knowledge, or expertise to a community, region, organization, or other beneficiary to help access and successfully deploy funding and build local capacity to develop, design, and deliver transportation plans and projects.

The agency noted that it is interested in learning more about best practices in technical assistance delivery approaches from non-federal providers and those federal agencies disadvantaged communities feel have been successful in meeting their needs. USDOT is also interested in the technical assistance challenges disadvantaged communities face or anticipate facing when seeking to access its technical assistance and capacity-building opportunities.

“Given the historic levels of infrastructure funding we have, it is critical that we ensure disadvantaged communities can access those funds,” said USDOT Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg in a statement. “Through the Thriving Communities Initiative and other programs, the Department of Transportation is committed to collaborating with communities to craft technical assistance programs that meet them where they are and meet their needs — helping to create efficient, accessible transportation for all communities.”

USDOT added that it has aligned its Build America Bureau and other programs with the Thriving Communities initiative, including technical assistance programs supported through the Reconnecting Communities pilot program, the Rural and Tribal Assistance pilot program, and the Asset Concession and Innovative Finance Assistance program. 

“Together these critical programs will provide support and access to a diverse set of technical assistance providers to work directly with communities as they identify, develop and deliver infrastructure projects that address critical social, economic, environmental, and mobility needs,” added Morteza Farajian, the Build America Bureau’s executive director.