Environmental News Highlights – October 5, 2022


AASHTO Comments on ‘Buy America’ EV-Focused Waiver – AASHTO Journal

Delaware, California Launch New Litter Cleanup Efforts – AASHTO Journal

Supreme Court to hear high-stakes challenge to Clean Water Act – Washington Post

Bipartisan group of senators press Buttigieg on overdue tourism infrastructure planThe Hill

Historic Step: All Fifty States Plus D.C. and Puerto Rico Greenlit to Move EV Charging Networks Forward, Covering 75,000 Miles of Highway – FHWA (media release)


Transport Canada to Remove All COVID Restrictions From October 1 – Travel Agent Central

Public Transportation Ridership Rises to More than 70 Percent of Pre-Pandemic Levels – American Public Transportation Association (media release)


Illinois DOT weighing EV tax to offset gas tax revenue loss – WTVO-TV

Remnants Of Hurricane Ian Will Test North Carolina DOT’s New Flood Early-Warning System For Roads – Charlotte Observer

Electric School Buses Aid Power Grid in Moments of Need – Government Technology

Hertz is teaming up with oil giant BP to install thousands of EV chargers in the U.S. – CNBC

Port of Albany passes on federal funding for wind project – WNYT-TV


New Mexico to be Part of ‘Clean Freight Corridor’ – Transport Topics

Exxon’s Long-Shot Embrace of Carbon Capture in the Houston Area Just Got Massive Support from Congress – Inside Climate News

NY proceeds with plan for zero-emission vehicles by 2035 – AP

‘It makes climate change real’: How carbon emissions got rebranded as ‘pollution’ – Grist


People of color are as interested in buying electric cars as white consumers – the biggest obstacle is access to charging – The Conversation

As Self-Driving Cars Hit the Streets, New Equity Concerns Emerge – Route Fifty

Advocates say speed-limiting tech in new cars could address gender disparity in crash statistics – Cox Media Group Washington Bureau

EPA Finalizes Environmental Justice Action Plan for Land Protection and Cleanup Programs – EPA (media release)


Beachwalk and trees fall into the ocean due to erosion at popular Maui beach

Beachwalk and trees fall into the ocean due to erosion at popular Maui beach

Winter swells could bring back beach, but long-term fix elusive – Maui News


Infrastructure Law Sends $1.1 Million To National Park Service For Transportation Needs – National Parks Traveler

Dual-Language Highway Signs Unveiled By Oneida Nation, Wisconsin DOT – WITI-TV


Transportation “Insecurity” Increasing Among Americans – AASHTO Journal

Grappling With the Traffic Safety Crisis – National Conference of State Legislatures (podcast)

NYC Proposal Offers Cash for Spotting Parking Violations in Bike Lanes – CityLab

Maryland transportation authorities celebrate “Walktober” by promoting pedestrian safety – WJZ-TV

‘We’re about 20 years behind’: Improving bike and pedestrian safety in the City of Omaha – KMTV-TV

New Jersey lawmakers want to study goal of zero traffic deaths by 2035 – New Jersey Monitor

Push for suicide prevention barriers on Taft Bridge prompts DDOT review of all DC bridges – WJLA-TV

Flint hosts workshop about becoming more bicycle friendly – WJRT-TV

Las Vegas Isn’t a City for Pedestrians, But We Could Make It One – Las Vegas Weekly (commentary)

SEPTA Offers New Way For Customers To Report Cleanliness Issues on System – SEPTA (media release)


The Era of Smart Infrastructure Demands Strong Data, Technology Management – TRB

Safer Intersections for Pedestrians and Bicyclists – TRB (webinar)


Airport Terminal Program; FY 2023 Funding OpportunityFAA (Notice of funding opportunity)

Announcing Two Virtual Public Outreach Events – Coast Guard (Notice of outreach events)

ETAP Podcast: Pennsylvania’s New Statewide Anti-Litter Program

This episode of the Environmental Technical Assistance Program or ETAP Podcast interviews Yassmin Gramian and Natasha Fackler, secretary and infrastructure implementation coordinator for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, respectively, about the state’s new anti-littering program.

[Above photo by PennDOT]

PennDOT helped launch the new program – formally entitled “PA Fights Dirty: Every Litter Bit Matters” – in August along with several other state agencies.

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.

“Every Litter Bit Matters” seeks to get state residents to ensure that 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, Gramian and Fackler explained.

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.

To listen to the full podcast, click here.

KYTC Helps Establish State-Focused Archaeological Website

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recently helped establish a new website highlighting more than 100 prehistoric and historic archaeological sites across the state’s 64 counties.

[Above photo by the Kentucky Heritage Council]

KYTC launched the new website – Discover Kentucky Archaeology – in collaboration with the Kentucky Heritage Council-State Historic Preservation Office, a Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet agency. The website documents the “diversity and richness” of Kentucky’s archaeological record and the scientific documentation and research undertaken by more than 100 archaeologists who have and continue to contribute a “shared understanding” of the past.

Examples of “prehistoric” times covered by the website begin with Paleoindian-era sites (prior to 8000 B.C.) and range from Grizzly Newt – an Early Archaic (8000 to 6000 B.C.) Native American rock shelter located within the Daniel Boone National Forest – to McGilligan Creek, a Late Woodland (A.D. 500 to 1000) village in Livingston County.

Meanwhile “historic” time period examples include Saltpeter Cave, a Frontier era (A.D. 1750 to 1820) niter mine in Carter County, through sites like Peanickle; a Postbellum and Industrialization (A.D. 1865 to 1914) African American community on a ridgetop just outside Lawrenceburg.

Every profile of an archaeological dig on the new website – created by the Kentucky Archaeological Survey – includes a summary, findings, a focus on “what’s cool,” and links to related materials. Other sections include opportunities for public education, outreach, and discovery. Additional features and content for the website – designed by Kentucky Interactive LLC – will come as research and funding allow, KYTC said.

The new website received its funding via an alternative mitigation agreement for bridge projects, financed by the federal government. Through a consultation process, outlined by federal statute and supported by the Federal Highway Administration, consulting parties agreed to create a publicly available guide to Kentucky archaeological sites.

“While we are dedicated to preserving significant archaeological resources, sometimes damage from construction projects to cultural resources can’t be avoided,” said Craig Potts, executive director of the Kentucky Heritage Council and state historic preservation officer, in a statement.

“In this instance, we worked with partner agencies and consulting parties to develop a way to offset these damages by investing in public outreach to increase understanding of the importance of these sites and what they have yet to tell us about Kentucky’s heritage,” he said.

“As we build a better Kentucky that meets the needs of the future, [we are] committed to protecting and preserving Kentucky’s past,” added KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “This initiative makes historical information accessible and enjoyable to discover across multiple periods and parts of the state.”

State departments of transportation across the country are involved in a variety of archaeological support efforts.

For example, in August, archaeologists from the Maryland Department of Transportation began helping excavate two small Colonial-era cabins near the historic Elkridge Furnace in Howard County, MD, located on land originally purchased for a highway project.

This effort follows a previous dig conducted by Maryland DOT’s archeological team in 2021 that helped discover a historic home site once owned by the father of famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who helped slaves escape north via the Underground Railroad.

Meanwhile, in February, the Nevada Department of Transportation and contractor Mead & Hunt began collaborating on an effort to develop a “multiple property documentation form” or MPDF to help preserve Latino-related properties statewide, with a primary focus on the cities of Las Vegas and Reno.

In addition, in January, the Colorado Department of Transportation debuted a documentary called “Durango 550 – Path of the Ancestral Puebloans” to show how the agency worked with archaeologists and regional Native American tribes to document, study, and ultimately share the discoveries unearthed near Durango in southwest Colorado.