Environmental News Highlights – September 22, 2021


Infrastructure Bill Aligns With Key AASHTO Principles – AASHTO Journal

Hoyer affirms House will vote Sept. 27 on bipartisan infrastructure bill – The Hill

Democrats Face a Grueling Two Weeks as Infighting Erupts Over Infrastructure – Time

Electric bicycle tax credit makes progress in Congress but gets slashed from 30% to 15% – Electrek

EPA Rescinds Previous Administration’s Guidance on Clean Water Act Permit Requirements – EPA (Media release)


White House announces new system allowing fully vaccinated foreign nationals to fly to US – Yahoo News

Obama’s transportation chief to Biden: mandate vaccines for airline travel – Politico

Feds opt out of quarrel between N.Y. and N.J. over billions in COVID transit funding – Daily News


5 critical ways to protect cities from disastrous flooding – Fast Company

DOTD takes steps to prevent flooding, prepares evacuation transportation in case of emergency KLFY-TV

Building a More Sustainable Car, From Headlamp to Tailpipe – New York Times

This is what happens to all the rats when cities flood – CNN


California drought driving up greenhouse gas emissions: study – The Hill

Infrastructure Bill Could Cut Carbon Emissions By Nearly a Gigaton – Scientific American


King County moves toward repealing bicycle helmet law – Crosscut

Attorneys General Urge Congress to Pay Up for Climate, Justice – Bloomberg Law

How the pandemic and a renewed focus on equity could reshape transportation – Washington Post (Commentary)


CDOT ramping up safety on U.S. 550 with wildlife underpass at Billy Creek – Montrose Press

Mudslide on scenic Colorado highway tests limits of aging infrastructure in era of climate change – NBC News


State Active Transportation Plan journey continues with Part 2 – Washington State Department of Transportation

South Middleton Township finalizes Active Transportation Plan – The Sentinel

Pensacola pedestrian, cyclist-friendly complete streets model back in focus with $166K boost – Pensacola News Journal

Tempe, With Multimodal Transportation Push, Eyes Higher Ranking On Alternative-Transit List – Wrangler News

New cycling infrastructure launched in New Haven – Yale Daily News

Is There Room for E-Scooters in New York City? – CityLab


TRB Webinar: Improving Bus Stops through Transit Agency Relationships – TRB

TRB Webinar: Transportation Resilience Metrics – TRB

Charting A Path Forward In Environmental Justice – The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Weather Responsive Management Strategies – FHWA Center for Accelerating Innovation


America’s Supply Chains and the Transportation Industrial Base – Office of the Secretary of Transportation (Notice of request for information)

Notice for Comment on Two Strategic Plans for the Subcommittee on Aquaculture Science Planning and Regulatory Efficiency Task Forces and on Updating the National Aquaculture Development Plan – Agricultural Research Service (Notice and request for comments)

Safety Zones; Hampton Roads Bridge- Tunnel Expansion Project, Hampton/ Norfolk, VA – Coast Guard (Temporary final rule)

Drone Advisory Committee (DAC); Notice of Public Meeting – FAA (Notice)

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

Draft General Conformity Determination for the California High-Speed Rail System Burbank to Los Angeles Section – FRA (Notice; request for comment)

Tahoe National Forest; California; North Yuba Landscape Resilience Project EIS Forest Service (Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement)

Notice of Proposed Subaward Under a Council-Selected Restoration Component Award Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Notice)

Management of Floating Cabins – Tennessee Valley Authority (Issuance of record of decision)

Ohio Unveils Connected Mobility Corridor

The recently opened 33 Smart Mobility Corridor in central Ohio is a connected highway project that seeks to enhance motor vehicle safety, reduce traffic congestion, and improve fuel economy.

[Above photo by DriveOhio]

This connected highway project – overseen by InnovateOhio, which coordinates service integration among state agencies – involves the Ohio Department of Transportation, DriveOhio, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the NW 33 Council of Governments, among others.

With a 35-mile redundant loop of fiber connectivity, the corridor includes 432 strands of available fiber, 63 roadside units, and 45 connected intersections. The route also encompasses diverse geographical and meteorological scenarios to provide a one-of-a-kind vehicle testing “ecosystem” for developing and testing smart mobility technology.

“Transportation is evolving, and mobility technology solutions that have and will be tested on the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor will save lives,” noted Jack Marchbanks, Ohio DOT’s director, in a statement. “The partnership framework we have established during this project is a model for future programs across the state, as we work to improve the quality of life for all Ohioans.”

“We know that connected and automated vehicle technology will continue to mature and scale at an ever-increasing pace,” added Howard Wood, executive director of DriveOhio, which is a division of the Ohio DOT. “As these systems are tested and refined, infrastructure plays a major role in the development cycle as mobility technology interphases with our legacy transportation system.”

“[This] corridor enables us to conduct real-world testing of our SAFE SWARM technology, which uses vehicle-to-everything communication to help mitigate collisions, improve traffic flow, increase fuel efficiency for all road users, and prepare for higher-levels of automated driving features,” said Sue Bai, chief engineer at Honda Research Institute USA, Inc.

Currently, Honda is operating over 200 connected vehicles along the corridor to understand how technology impacts the customer and realize a connected ecosystem that protects everyone sharing the road, including pedestrians, motorcycles, and bicyclists.

“This initiative is helping us develop the transportation ecosystem of the future with like-minded partners in the auto industry, government, academia, and the private sector,” Bai added.

NYSDOT Wraps Up Pedestrian Safety Improvement Projects

In late August, the New York State Department of Transportation completed work on two projects that enhance safety for pedestrians along the 90-mile corridor of State Route 25 and portions of three other roads in Nassau and Suffolk counties. 

[Above photo by NYSDOT]

Those two projects – costing $11.3 million and completed on time and under budget, NYSDOT stressed – added more than 250 new curb ramps, more than 1,800 feet of new or upgraded sidewalks, and dozens of new traffic signals and signs that will improve travel conditions for both pedestrians and motorists on some of Long Island’s busiest roadways.

“If we are serious about securing a greener future for all New Yorkers, making our streets safer and more walkable needs to be at the top of our agenda,” noted Governor Kathy Hochul (D) in a statement. “More and more people are taking to the roads again as our state continues coming back from the pandemic, and we must continue working to improve accessibility and make our streets and highways more accommodating to all modes of transportation.”

“Safety is [our] number one priority,” added Marie Therese Dominguez, NYSDOT commissioner. “Unfortunately, too often motorists are traveling at unsafe speeds or they are distracted, resulting in devastating motorist-pedestrian crashes. In addition to promoting safe driving and enforcement, these projects exemplify New York State DOT’s efforts to build safer corridors in communities across New York. A 21st Century transportation network demands that we go beyond just motor vehicles and accommodate all modes of transit so that communities continue to prosper and grow.”

The first of those projects – an $8.6 million initiative along State Route 25 that added approximately 300 new pedestrian safety enhancement measures, both large and small, along the entire stretch of the road from the New York City border to Orient Point – cost roughly $1 million less than the initial estimated costs. 

A second $2.7 million project – running some $600,000 less than expected – built 123 new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps on State Route 24 in the Town of Hempstead, State Route 25A (Main Street) in the Town of Huntington, and State Route 27 in the Town of Southampton.  That also included the construction of nearly 800 feet of new sidewalks along with the modernization of over a dozen pedestrian crossing signals and the addition of new pedestrian crossing signs.