Environmental News Highlights – September 16, 2020

A roundup of headlines curated for state transportation environmental professionals


Letter Calls on Congress to Make ‘Turn-Key’ Transportation Deal – AASHTO Journal

Congress Returns for Fall Legislative Sprint – CitiesSpeak

Maryland, Chesapeake Bay Foundation sue EPA, claiming failure to enforce cleanup plan – Baltimore Sun

Highlights Of Joe Biden’s Energy Plan – Forbes

House Lawmakers to Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Advance Agencies’ Use of Electric Vehicles – Route Fifty

House Transportation Leaders Call for Investigation Into EPA – Transport Topics

EPA’s birthday gift to America: More pollution – The Hill (Opinion)


COVID-19 Could Slow City’s Efforts to Curb Water Pollution – City Limits

COVID-19 disrupts local-level efforts to clean up Chesapeake Bay – Bay Journal

Hazardous Air Pollutant Exposure Linked as Contributing Factor to COVID-19 Mortality in the United States – SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry


White House Environmental Review Rule Survives Legal Test – Bloomberg Law


FHWA Issues Emergency Funds to Louisiana for Storm Recovery – AASHTO Journal

Uber Pledges to Go All-Electric, but It Doesn’t Own the Cars – Wired

How states can finance coastal resilience before the next disaster – Environmental Defense Fund (Blog)

Leading political environmental organization opposes NJ Transit “Transitgrid” microgrid project – Insider NJ (Press release)


How to read and understand air quality numbers and maps – Los Angeles Times

A misguided strategy – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Editorial)

The Struggle to Crack Down on a Cottage Industry Sabotaging Vehicle Pollution Controls – FairWarning


WITF’s ‘Toward Racial Justice’ panel links environmental justice with health, human rights and self-determination – StateImpact Pennsylvania

How NC can tackle the climate crisis and address environmental justice – NC Policy Watch


EPA funding impacting Twin Ports research projects – KBJR-TV

Why We Still Can’t Stop Oil Spills From Damaging the Environment – Bloomberg Green

New Mexico Environment Department Works To Combat Wetland Loss – KRWG

Why some in Nevada see Utah pipeline plan as ‘first salvo in coming water wars’ – Las Vegas Sun

Kentucky Officials Award Funds to Freight-Moving River Ports – Transport Topics


How micromobility has transformed the transportation industry – Governors’ Highway Safety Association

Revel Moped Representatives To Meet With NYC DOT Over Safety Concerns – WCBS-TV

San Jose revised bike plan aims to tackle city’s traffic-related accidents, make roads safer – KRON-TV

Appeals Filed Against SFMTA and SF Planning Department Put Roadblocks in Front of City’s Slow Streets Program – SFist

From free electric bikes to new infrastructure, the fabric of our cities is changing – CNBC


AASHTO re:source Launches Podcast – AASHTO Journal

National Competition Will Select America’s Two Best Transportation Projects – AASHTO Journal

TRB Webinar: A Resilient Path Forward for the Marine Transportation System – TRB

TRB Webinar: Advancing Transportation Equity – TRB

TRB Webinar: Determining Social and Economic Qualifications in the DBE Program – TRB

Cost, Congestion, and Emissions Benefits of Centralized Freight Routing and Efficiencies in Alternative Fuel Freight Modes – National Center for Sustainable Transportation


Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources Review – EPA (Final rule)

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council; Notice of Charter Renewal – EPA (Notice of charter renewal)

Amtrak Expands Carry-On Bike Program with State DOT Help

National passenger railroad Amtrak recently expanded its carry-on bike program for most Northeast Regionaldepartures; allowing customers to store their bike inside of the passenger coach in a designated space.

[Above photo by Amtrak]

In addition, Amtrak said it is now offering its carry-on bike program in conjunction with its various Northeastern partners on state-supported trains – partners that include the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Connecticut Department of Transportation.

“Bringing your bicycle onboard a train is part of the journey, as it allows our customers to explore the cities they are visiting,” explained Roger Harris, Amtrak’s executive vice president and chief marketing and commercial officer, in a statement. “To coincide with the increased popularity of biking in this country, we also wanted to provide our customers with the option of bringing their bike on more trains.”

Using newly installed luggage racks that convert to bike racks, the expanded bike program will allow Amtrak to provide storage space for up to two bikes per departure. The expansion of the program means Keystone Service and Northeast Regional customers can bring their bikes –including standard full-sized bicycles – for an additional $20 and store them inside the passenger coach in a designated space, though specific reservations are required.

“Allowing riders the versatility to bring their bikes on the train is very important to PennDOT,” explained Jennie Granger, PennDOT’s deputy secretary for multimodal transportation in a separate statement. “Increased transit options will change the way people get around their cities while creating cost savings, improved health and wellness benefits, and more environmentally conscious choices.” Amtrak added that more than 232,953 bikes have traveled around the country since it launched the carry-on program in October 2015. The program has also generated more than $1 million in revenue since its inception.

Maryland DOT Gears up for First-Ever ‘Walktober’

As part of the statewide focus on walking, walkable communities, and pedestrian safety, the Maryland Department of Transportation is partnering with state and local agencies, nonprofits, and communities to host ‘Walktober’ – a month-long series of activities and four virtual webinars to be held in October.

[Above photo via Wikimedia Commons]

Those four webinars – or ‘walkinars’ – are 90 minutes long and are being held online encourage safe practices as Maryland continues its COVID-19 recovery. Scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. eastern time on October 1, 15, 22 and 29, the ‘walkinars’ are tailored to pedestrian enthusiasts, advocates, planners and residents.

Panelists will share resources to help build, strengthen, and sustain partnerships, and share new tools and technologies being used across the country to promote pedestrian access and safety. The series is open to all and provides the American Institute of Certified Planners with 1.5 certification maintenance credits per session to maintain certification.

“Walking is not only our state exercise, but it’s been an important strategy for Marylanders dealing with the challenges of COVID-19,” said Governor Larry Hogan (R) in a statement. “While many people have been teleworking and following ‘safer-at-home’ advice, they’ve rediscovered walking for health, recreation, and overall well-being.”

“The walkability of our communities is a critical component to Maryland’s transportation mission,” said Greg Slater, Maryland DOT secretary. “Events such as Walktober, where we’re bringing different voices to the table, encouraging action and heightening awareness, are important as we work together to improve safety and deliver innovative solutions across Maryland.”