Environmental News Highlights – August 24, 2022


USDOT Issues Over $2B in New RAISE Grants – AASHTO Journal

AASHTO Comments on Clean Water Certification Rule – AASHTO Journal

FHWA Announces $100 Million in Grant Awards, $125 Million in New Funding Availability for Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects – FHWA (Media release)

FHWA Announces $45.7 Million Grant to Alaska’s Native Village of Eyak to Improve Multi-Modal Transportation Access to Oil Spill Response Facility – FHWA (Media release)


More stringent COVID restrictions linked with better air quality – Harvard University


NCDOT Hydraulics Unit Wins Water Quality Award – AASHTO Journal

Kentucky transportation secretary gives update on flood recovery, points to lessons from tornado outbreak – WKMS Radio

Burying just 5 percent of power lines can improve resilience in hurricane-prone regions The Hill

Dulles solar farm would be the nation’s largest at an airportWashington Post

A Frustrating Hassle Holding Electric Cars Back: Broken Chargers – New York Times

1 million square feet of L.A. roads are being covered with solar-reflective paint – Fast Company

Ports Employ Solar Power in Efforts to Improve Environment – The Maritime Executive

Hit by Wet Weather and Mudslides, Pittsburgh Seeks New Ways to Adapt – Route Fifty (Commentary)

Governor announces first ever Nevada Infrastructure Summit – Nevada Governor’s Office (Media release)


How 3 US cities are protecting air quality – despite the West Virginia v. EPA Supreme Court ruling – CDP

New NACTO Report: Improving Bus Service is Key to Fighting Climate Change – National Association of City Transportation Officials

L.A. is spending tens of billions of dollars to make climate change and traffic worse – Los Angeles Times (Op-ed)

Metra to create battery-powered locomotives – Metra (Media release)


Ideas abound as USDOT eyes wheelchairs in the cabin – Runway Girl Network

This is the tip of the iceberg’ – Colorado is tracking pollution in the state’s most impacted communities – Colorado Public Radio


PennDOT Helps Launch New Anti-Littering Effort – AASHTO Journal

FHWA Announces $54.3 Million Grant to National Park Service to Improve Safety along Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi – FHWA (Media release)

FHWA Providing National Park Service $11.7 Million in ‘Quick Release’ Emergency Relief Funding to Repair Flood Damage in Death Valley National Park – FHWA (Media release)

EPA Announces Availability of $3.6 Million for Tribes to Protect and Expand Critical Wetland Habitats – EPA (Media release)


Maryland DOT Archeologists Excavate Iron Furnace Site – AASHTO Journal

Too Darn Hot: How Summer Stages Are Threatened by Climate Change – New York Times

Chapel Hill Art + Transit partners with local artists for LGBTQ+ themed designs – Daily Tar Heel

Vienna: A city in the fast lane of the smart mobility revolution – GovInsider


Gates added to Park City, Utah pathways to make bicycling safer for riders – Park Record

New Pa. state park near Lehigh Valley to be first dedicated to ATVs, other motorized recreation – Morning Call

Oregon to take steps to reduce the risk of suicides at Astoria Bridge – Daily Astorian

How Evolutions in Transportation and Mobility Are Creating Opportunities within the Built Environment – MarketScale

Why Golf Carts Are A Transportation Mode Of The Future – Slate

New York City’s Greenways Get Another Boost as Officials Plot Expansion – Gotham Gazette

Bolt Mobility abandoned electric bikes all over US cities. Here’s what’s happening to them – Electrek


Untangling Major Societal Issues on the Road to Environmental Health – TRB


Announcement of Fiscal Year 2022 Low or No Emission Program and Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program and Project Selections – FTA (Notice)

Notice of Final Agency Actions on Proposed Railroad Project in California on Behalf of the California High Speed Rail Authority – FRA (Notice)

Notice of Intent To Prepare a Draft Tiered Environmental Impact Statement for the New York and New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study – Army Corps of Engineers (Notice)

Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; New Jersey; Regional Haze State Implementation Plan for the Second Implementation Period – EPA (Proposed rule)

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Model Years 2027 and Beyond Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards and Model Years 2029 and Beyond Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks and Vans Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Improvement Program Standards – NHTSA (Notice; request for scoping comments)

Security Zone; Port of Miami, FloridaCoast Guard (Notice of proposed rulemaking)

National Towing Safety Advisory Committee; September 2022 Meeting – Coast Guard (Notice)

Board Meeting – Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (Notice)

Notice of Availability of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Alabama Trustee Implementation Group Alabama Swift Tract Living Shoreline Project: Final Supplemental Environmental Assessment – National Marine Fisheries Service (Notice of availability)

FTA Issues over $1.6B in Clean Bus Grant Awards

The Federal Transit Administration recently issued more than $1.6 billion in grants to transit agencies, territories, and states across the country to invest in 150 bus fleets and facilities.

[Above photo by the MTA]

Funded by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA enacted in November 2021, that funding should nearly double the number of no-emission transit buses on America’s roadways, according to an FTA statement.

The agency added that, for the first time, 5 percent of that low- and no-emission bus funding would go towards training transit workers on how to maintain and operate clean bus technology.

FTA is providing those bus grant awards through two programs. The first is its Low or No Emission (Low-No) Grant Program, which makes funding available to help transit agencies buy or lease U.S.-built low- or no-emission vehicles, including related equipment or facilities.

The IIJA provides $5.5 billion over five years for the Low-No Program – more than six times greater than the previous five years of funding, FTA said. For fiscal year 2022, approximately $1.17 billion is available for grants under this program.

The second is FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program, which supports transit agencies in buying and rehabilitating buses and vans and building bus maintenance facilities. The IIJA provides nearly $2 billion over five years for the program, the agency said. For fiscal year 2022, approximately $550 million for grants was available under this program.

Several state departments of transportation received grants via this round of awards (for a full list of the projects receiving grants, click here). Those include:

  • The Alaska Department of Transportation, on behalf of the City and Borough of Juneau and Capital Transit, received $2.3 million to rehabilitate and modernize its vehicle storage and maintenance facility.
  • The Connecticut Department of Transportation received just over $20 million on behalf of the Connecticut Southeast Area Transit District to rehabilitate its Preston transit facility, buy battery electric buses, and launch a training program to help staff operate and maintain zero-emission buses.
  • The Colorado Department of Transportation received $51 million to support a variety of projects, including $34.7 million on behalf of Summit Stage, a rural transit agency that provides bus service in Summit, Park and Lake Counties in northeast Colorado, to build a bus depot for electrical charging and storage. It will replace Summit Stage’s aging facility and prepare for a 100-percent electric fleet in the future.
  • The District of Columbia Department of Transportation is getting $9.6 million to help buy battery-electric buses to replace diesel vehicles and increase the size of the Washington, D.C., Circulator fleet.
  • The Hawaii Department of Transportation gets $23.2 million on behalf of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui counties to buy a mix of zero-emission buses, battery electric buses, and fuel cell electric buses. The agency is also getting a further $12 million to undertake bus stop and facility improvements.
  • The Iowa Department of Transportation gets $15.8 million for one urban and four rural transit agencies to buy battery electric buses and charging equipment. The agency gets a further $12 million to buy new buses, cutaway chassis, and vans to replace older vehicles for 26 of Iowa’s transit systems.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Transportation gets $4.1 million on behalf of Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority and Nantucket Regional Transit Authority will receive funding to buy battery electric and propane buses to replace older diesel vehicles.
  • The Minnesota Department of Transportation gets $3.4 million to buy battery electric buses and charging equipment to replace buses that are part of four rural transit fleets.
  • The New Mexico Department of Transportation gets $3 million on behalf of the South Central Regional Transit District to buy battery electric buses and charging equipment, provide training and buy property it currently leases. It also gets another $2.5 million on behalf of the South Central Regional Transit District to buy battery electric buses and charging equipment as well as fund staff training.
  • The Oregon Department of Transportation gets $4.6 million to buy battery electric buses and install three new electric chargers. It gets an additional $2 million for the Sandy Area Metro to buy battery electric buses and install charging equipment, replacing diesel buses that have exceeded their useful life.
  • The South Dakota Department of Transportation gets over $1 million on behalf of River Cities Public Transit, Community Transit of Watertown/Sisseton, Prairie Hills Transit, and Rural Office of Community Services to buy low-emission propane buses, two propane conversion kits, and install a propane fueling station.
  • The Tennessee Department of Transportation gets $12 million on behalf of two urban and five rural transit agencies to buy buses and demand-response vehicles to replace older vehicles that reached their useful life.
  • The Utah Department of Transportation gets over $6 million on behalf of Park City Transit to buy battery-electric buses and charging equipment to expand its express route service in the Quinn’s Junction area.
  • The Vermont Agency of Transportation gets $9.1 million to buy electric buses and install charging equipment for Marble Valley Regional Transit District in Rutland and Green Mountain Transit in Burlington. VTrans gets a further $3.2 million to build a bus depot for the Marble Valley Regional Transit District.
  • The Washington State Department of Transportation gets $5.4 million to purchase vehicles for three rural transportation providers, replacing buses that have exceeded their useful life, improving quality of life, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Cycling Group Holding Bike Route Webinar for State DOTs

The Adventure Cycling Association is hosting a webinar in November entitled “Successful U.S. Bicycle Route System Designation for Transportation Professionals” for state department of transportation executives and managers.

[Above photo by NYSDOT]

In this one-hour webinar, the group plans to dive into efforts to expand the U.S. Bicycle Route System or USBRS into a national network for long-distance bicycle travel. State DOTs create specific bicycle routes, with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials providing oversight and Adventure Cycling providing technical support for that process.

[Editor’s note: In February 2021, AASHTO and Adventure Cycling signed a memorandum of understanding or MOU to formalize their 16-year partnership, which seeks to create a 50,000-mile national bicycle network.]

Webinar presenters include:

  • Jenn Hamelman, Adventure Cycling’s USBRS program manager.
  • Matt Hardy, AASHTO program director for planning and performance management.
  • Kyla Elzinga, AASHTO associate program director for planning and performance management.
  • Meg Fennell, transportation analyst with the New York State Department of Transportation state bicycle and pedestrian unit.
  • Karen Lorf, NYSDOT state bicycle, and pedestrian coordinator.
  • Jerry Scott, multimodal data system coordinator for the Transportation Data & Analytics Office at the Florida Department of Transportation. 
  • Tiffany Gehrke, Florida DOT Roadway Design Office’s Complete Streets coordinator.

To register for this webinar, click here

Adventure Cycling said it would not record the November webinar, which is limited to 40 participants. By contrast, in December, Adventure Cycling plans to hold a second webinar on the USBRS for a wider audience – mainly for any person or group considered a stakeholder in the USBRS designation process – with unlimited audience size.