Environmental News Highlights – September 21, 2022


FHWA Approves 35 State EV Charging Infrastructure Plans – AASHTO Journal

State DOTs Increase Multimodal, Active Transportation Support – AASHTO Journal

ETAP Podcast: The Next Generation Highways Concept – AASHTO Journal

Key infrastructure nominee pitches ‘all of the above’ approach on roads – Washington Post

Will California’s Gas Vehicle Ban Help Lead the Nation? – Los Angeles Times

Inflation Reduction Act of 2022; Implementation of Energy and Infrastructure Provisions – Office of the President (Executive Order)


L.A. County could soon drop this key COVID mask rule. Here’s why – Los Angeles Times


Denver passed a sales tax for climate. Is it working? – E&E News

US climate goals are achievable – if we can get the permits – The Hill (Opinion)


The Growing Debate Over Where to Put EV Chargers in Rural America – Route Fifty

Port of Long Beach channel deepening project moves forward with federal, local approvals – Long Beach Business Journal

Port of Los Angeles offers $5 million in green incentives – Port Technology

Tijuana Airport’s Bridge to the U.S. Is Reshaping California-Mexico Travel – Airline Weekly

Work Progresses on Two Projects at Maine-Canada Border – Transport Topics


The Fog of San Francisco – New York Times

Feds Launch New Climate Resilience Planning Portal – Government Technology

California’s Next Climate Mandate Is End to Sales of Diesel-Only Trucks in 2040 – Times of San Diego

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Interagency Commitment to Lower Transportation Emissions and Consumer Costs, Bolster Domestic Energy Security – US Department of Energy (Media release)

EPA Releases Final Determinations of Attainment Status for Air Quality Standards for Smog – EPA (Media release)


At 75, the Father of Environmental Justice Meets the Moment – New York Times

U-M study finds 1 in 4 four US adults experience transportation insecurity – University of Michigan (Media release)

Justice Department Moves to Intervene in Mobility Disability Discrimination Suit Against San Juan, Puerto RicoDepartment of Justice (Media release)


A State Wildlife Agency That’s Winning at Twitter – Route Fifty

Florida scientists will study how homeowners affect the water quality of stormwater ponds – WUSF Radio

NCDOT begins second phase of biannual litter sweep, encourages volunteer participation – Daily Tar Heel

Preventing Litter Is “Simple As That,” Says New Washington Campaign – Daily Fly


Visiting with Huell Howser: Los Angeles Union Station – KCET-TV


Cincinnati City Council working on long-term plan to address pedestrian safety – WXIX-TV

Gordie Howe International Bridge Will Have Access For Bicycles And Pedestrians – WLHT Radio

How The Twin Cities Is Making Transit Accessible To Immigrants And Refugees – Next City

Centering Bikes in the Future of Mobility – Planetizen

Transit App Adds Pittsburgh Bike-Rental Program POGOH – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Navigating an Electric Vehicle Future: Proceedings of a Workshop – National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Preparing for LNG by Rail Tank Car: A Readiness Review – TRB


Enhancing the Safety of Vulnerable Road Users at Intersections; Request for Information – USDOT (Notice)

Air Plan Approval; Missouri; St. Louis Area Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program – EPA (Final rule)

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

Draft FAA Policy Regarding Processing Land Use Changes on Federally Acquired or Federally Conveyed Airport LandFAA (Proposed policy; request for comments)

Uniform Procedures for State Highway Safety Grant Programs – NHTSA (Notice of proposed rulemaking)

Improvements for Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Test Procedures, and Other Technical Amendments – NHSTA (Proposed rule)

Meeting of the Regional Energy Resource CouncilTennessee Valley Authority (Notice)

Four Federal Agencies Planning Broad GHG Reduction Effort

The U.S. Departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Environmental Protection Agency recently signed a memorandum of understanding or MOU to reduce greenhouse gas or GHG emissions associated with the transportation sector while concurrently ensuring “resilient and accessible mobility options” for all Americans.

[Above photo by USDOT]

The MOU commits the agencies to release within 90 days of its signing a comprehensive blueprint for decarbonizing the transportation sector that will help guide future policy decisions, as well as research, development, demonstration, and deployment in the public and private sectors.

That blueprint will also ensure a coordinated “whole-of-government” approach to address challenges to achieving widespread and equitable de-carbonization of the domestic transportation sector. This includes increasing access to safe, active transportation options, providing clean and affordable transit options, modernizing the grid to meet increased demands from the electric vehicle sector, and reducing emissions from the entire lifecycle of transportation, including emissions from construction.

Domestic transportation – including both passenger and freight modes – produces more GHG emissions than any other sector, those four agencies noted in a joint statement. Thus by working together with states, local communities, tribal communities, labor unions, nonprofits, and the private sector, they hope to promote low- and zero-emission transportation solutions to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, create clean transportation jobs, and support the Biden administration’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050. 

Those four agencies said that the billions of dollars in “clean transportation” funding allocated through the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted in November 2021 as well as the $739 billion Inflation Reduction Act enacted in August makes the United States “well-positioned” to take reduced GHGs while creating “millions of jobs” for American workers.

The agencies said they plan to accomplish both goals by increasing access to more efficient modes of transportation such as walking, biking, transit and rail, while lowering the costs of electric vehicles and other zero emission vehicles and fuels. That would allow American families and businesses to benefit from and enjoy the benefits of this “affordable clean energy revolution,” those agencies said.

WSDOT Joins Statewide Anti-Litter Campaign

The Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington State Department of Ecology are joining forces on a new statewide anti-littering campaign entitled “Simple As That” to help prevent littering by changing the behaviors that cause it.

[Above photo by WSDOT]

According to a 2021 study commissioned by the Ecology department, more than 75 percent of state residents choose not to litter while some 26 percent of the remaining 25 percent said they would be motivated to stop if a friend, family member, or passenger asked them to refrain from littering. The agency said its survey found that not having a “car trash bag” as the top reason why they litter.

While those numbers sound promising, but the truth is that more than 18 million pounds of litter accumulate annually on Washington’s roads, parks and recreation areas. Preliminary results from a 2022 statewide litter study show 24,001 litter items per mile on Washington’s urban interstate highways. Plastic food wrappers, snack bags and cigarette butts are some of the most commonly found items.

Both WSDOT and the Ecology department spend more than $9 million annually on trash cleanup efforts – pickup crews and volunteers collected 357 tons of garbage in July alone. Unfortunately, this is only a small fraction of what ends up on the road, the agencies noted.

“Litter adds up when we don’t make simple choices to properly dispose of garbage. It damages our environment, hurts wildlife, and threatens public health, safety and our economy,” said Governor Jay Inslee (D) in a blog post. “Ultimately, our success is determined by people choosing to not litter.”

As a part of the campaign, Washington’s Ecology department is running statewide advertising in English and Spanish and collaborating with Fred Meyer stores to give away free car litter bags to shoppers across the state. In addition, it is distributing a Litter Prevention Toolkit to allied government agencies, jurisdictions and nonprofit organizations to help reach Washington residents.

“Litter is a big problem with simple solutions. Small actions like keeping a litter bag in your car to collect garbage can make a huge difference,” said Amber Smith, the agency’s statewide litter prevention coordinator. “It’s critical for us to stop litter at its source. When you take care of your trash the right way, you help create a litter free Washington and set a good example for others. We need everyone to do their part.”

This effort is also part of the ongoing We Keep Washington Litter Free campaign also conducted in partnership with WSDOT, the Washington State Patrol, and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. The campaign focuses on different littering behaviors through several sub-campaigns, including the significant safety and environmental impacts of unsecured vehicle loads

State departments of transportation across the country are involved in a wide variety of anti-litter efforts.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation joined several fellow state agencies in August 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.

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.