Environmental News Highlights – October 19, 2022


AASHTO Comments on FHWA’s Proposed GHG Rules – AASHTO Journal

As Electric Vehicles Shrink Gas Tax Revenue, More States May Tax Mileage – Route Fifty


California Strengthens Alliances for Transportation Electrification – Transport Topics

What a rebuilt southwest Florida might look like – AXIOS

Nearly a decade since Superstorm Sandy, New York City’s resilience projects are ‘plodding’ – American City and County

Mississippi River Reopens to Barge Traffic After Low Water Closures – Reuters

Self-Driving Cars Do Not Exist, Yet Drivers Still Think They Have One: Study – The Drive

California sends $300 million to help begin the planning process to move train tracks off Del Mar Bluffs – KGTV-TV

FWC creates hotline to address thousands of vessels displaced by Hurricane Ian – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (media release)

HDOT testing asphalt mixes designed to improve pavement and the environment – Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation (media release)


Sony, Honda aim to deliver premium EV with subscription fees in 2026 – Reuters


Six State DOTs Sign ‘Equity in Infrastructure’ Pledge – AASHTO Journal

Former Maryland Transit Exec Paul Comfort Authors New Book, ‘Conversations on Equity and Inclusion in Public Transportation’ – Cecil Whig

Most Maryland state agencies earn D’s and F’s on new environmental justice scorecard – The Hill

25 Native Tribes and Alaskan Villages Receive Nearly $9 Million From the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Transit – FTA (media release)


KYTC Helps Establish State-Focused Archaeological Website – AASHTO Journal

University Ecologists Studying Idaho’s Roadside Vegetation – AASHTO Journal


New exhibit in Grand Central Terminal tells NYC’s history through urban planning – Gothamist

“There’s a bit of a cultural issue”: Pete Buttigieg gets real about the EV revolution – Vox

Cincinnati traffic boxes turned into pieces of art with hopes to deter graffiti – WXIX-TV


Denver’s E-Bike Rebates Are So Hot They’re Gone Within Minutes – CItyLab

Glasgow installs automatic cyclist warning signs – Highway News

Safer streets targeted through Rochester’s bicycle plan update – Post Bulletin

Why are rural roads so much more deadly? New report explores – Family Safety & Health

The e-bike boom is getting increasingly dangerous, creating a push for stricter cycling rules – Fortune

These kids ride a ‘bike bus’ to school. Residents line the streets and cheer. – Washington Post


Racial Equity, Black America, and Public Transportation, Volume 1: A Review of Economic, Health, and Social Impacts – TCHRP

E-Scooter Safety: Issues and Solutions – TRB

Research on Pavements and Other Transportation Materials Key to Sustainability – TRB


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

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

Air Plan Approval; California; Innovative Clean Transit Regulation – EPA (Proposed rule)

Federal Implementation Plans Under the Clean Air Act for Indian Reservations in Idaho, Oregon, and WashingtonEPA (Proposed rule)

Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment on Proposed Land Use Changes of Surplus Property at Everett-Stewart Regional Airport, Union City, Tennessee – FAA (Request for public comments)

Establishment of Lost Trail Conservation Area, Montana – Fish and Wildlife Service (Notice)

Notice of Availability of Draft Study; Extension of Comment Period – Coast Guard (Notice)

National Chemical Transportation Safety Advisory Committee; November 2022 Meeting – Coast Guard (Notice)

National Advisory Council; Meeting – FEMA (Notice)

Meeting of the Regional Resource Stewardship Council and the Regional Energy Resource Council – TVA (Notice)

Public Meeting of the Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee – Department of Interior (Notice of public meeting)

Notice of Proposed Withdrawal and Public Meeting, Thompson Divide Area, ColoradoBureau of Land Management (Notice)

Kansas DOT Wins Two Environmental Awards

The Kansas Department of Transportation recently received two awards for its stormwater management policies from the Water Environment Federation or WEF.

[Above photo by the Kansas DOT]

The agency received a bronze model for innovation and a silver medal for program management as part of WEF’s National Municipal Stormwater and Green Infrastructure Award contest.

“The quality of stormwater runoff is important to the health of our rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands,” noted Dale Kirmer, a staff engineer with Kansas DOT, in a statement.

“Rainwater can pick up many different pollutants when it hits the ground and has no treatment facility,” he added. “It drains into our waterways through pipes and ditches. The pollutants can cause turbidity (i.e. cloudy water) and overgrowth of algae as well as harm aquatic organisms and the ecosystem.”

The Kansas DOT manages compliance within six areas of municipal separate storm sewer systems, also known as MS4, on state-owned right-of-ways statewide. As a result, the agency has developed an MS4 compliance strategy that promotes stormwater quality, optimizes processes, and looks for new opportunities to minimize impacts to stormwater runoff.

The agency’s stormwater management plan includes several interconnected compliance elements, such as promoting an Adopt-a-Highway litter removal program; creating comprehensive construction site runoff requirements for all Kansas DOT projects; and focusing on post-construction stormwater management, specific to the highway environment.

In the future, the agency plans to keep identifying opportunities to improve its documentation processes, among other items. The goal is not to only check a box, Kansas DOT stressed; the goal is to improve the quality of stormwater runoff from the state’s transportation systems.

Other state departments of transportation across the country are engaged in water-management efforts that mirror Kansas DOT’s stormwater control philosophies in many ways.

For example, as part of its “Let’s Change This to That” public education campaign, the California Department of Transportation began highlighting the top six sources of stormwater pollution across the state in May as well as ways to prevent them from contaminating California’s waterways.

Meanwhile, in August, the hydraulics unit of the North Carolina Department of Transportation won a 2022 Pelican Award from the North Carolina Coastal Federation for its efforts to both protect and improve coastal water quality. The Pelican Award honors volunteers, businesses, agencies, and organizations that go “above and beyond” to ensure a healthy North Carolina coast for future generations.

The Federation commended the NCDOT team – one of three winners of Pelican wards this year – for its dedicated advancement of nature-based resilience initiatives, such as its work on the living shoreline project along N.C. 24. That project is part of NCDOT’s effort to make more than 500 miles of coastal roads resilient to storms using nature-based solutions.

In May 2021, the Maryland Department of Transportation unveiled three “smart ponds” built via a public-private partnership or P3 stormwater control project that seeks to reduce pollutants and curb local flooding.

The agency said this “smart pond” project is the first of its kind involving a state transportation department and it involved the Maryland Department of Environment, Environmental Protection Agency, Walmart, and The Nature Conservancy. Overall, the Maryland DOT said it owns about 800 ponds that could benefit from this smart pond technology.

Kentucky Updates Pedestrian/Bicycle Travel Policy

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recently issued a new version of its “Complete Streets” roads and highways manual; a revision that represents the first update in more than 20 years to Kentucky’s pedestrian and bicycle travel policy.

[Above image via the KYTC]

“Highway safety has been one of my top priorities,” noted Governor Andy Beshear (D) in a statement.

“And that means safety for everyone who uses our transportation system – motorists, motorcyclists, transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians,” he added. “This provides valuable guidance to equip transportation industry partners across all levels to consider multi-modal systems when planning to support equity and accessibility in communities.”

KYTC pointed out that a “complete street” is one “safe and accommodating” for all users – be they motorists, bicyclists, or pedestrians. Its design can vary according to land use, corridor characteristics, and types of travelers using it. As a concept, “complete streets” can also be adapted for all types of communities – urban, suburban, small town, and rural areas.

Implementation may include a dedicated space for pedestrians and cyclists, such as bike lanes, wide paved shoulders, sidewalks, crosswalks, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, roadway reconfigurations, and roundabouts, the agency noted.

“Historically, streets, roads, and highways were designed around cars and trucks,” explained KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “Today, our transportation planners and designers approach their tasks holistically, taking the needs of all users into account and building accordingly. There’s no one-size fits all recommendation as roadway features must be tailored to fit the community context.”

To elevate the state’s safety and equity priority, Gray also signed an official order outlining KYTC’s policy to meet the needs of all users and requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act when planning, building, rehabilitating, and maintaining all state-maintained streets and roads. The users include motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, transit, and freight, benefitting people of all ages and abilities, the agency said.