Environmental News Highlights – October 26, 2022


AASHTO’s New President to Emphasize Resilience – AASHTO Journal

States Divided on Setting Targets for Curbing Highway Emissions – Route Fifty

50 Years After the Clean Water Act – Gauging Progress – GAO

Remarks by President Biden on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – White House (media release)


Trump administration blocked CDC transit mask mandate, report shows – Reuters


Colorado DOT may be slowing highway expansions, but don’t expect any highway removals – Colorado Public Radio News

The Race to Save a Scenic California Train From Rising Seas – CityLab

Michigan’s Future Mobility Relies on EV Charging Expansion – Morning Sun

Biden advisor says Syracuse’s I-81 plan is “a beautiful project” being replicated across U.S.Syracuse.com

Game theory could boost access to EV charging stations – Futurity

Reducing noise pollution with acoustic walls and rubberised roads – Horizon: The EU Research & Innovation Magazine

RIDOT Chosen for Climate Challenge Award for Permeable Pavement Project – Rhode Island DOT (media release)

HDOT to Receive Climate Challenge Initiative Funding for Plastic Recycling Research – Hawai’i DOT (media release)


California bill aligning climate goals with transportation funding vetoed – Land Line

Getting to ‘net-zero’ emissions: How energy leaders envision countering climate change in the future – The Conversation

Carbon auctions will bring WA more money than predicted. Transportation could benefit – Seattle Times

Can charging frequent flyers for their carbon solve aviation’s climate problem? – Anthropocene


TxDOT I-45 expansion: Houston project on pause, but activists and neighbors still fighting to save remaining homes – KTRK-TV

Lacuna Tech Powers L.A. Pilot for Taxi Ride Equity – Government Technology

Infrastructure Investments Should Be Evidence Informed and Equity Focused – Pew


What to Know About the $350M in New Funding for Wildlife Crossings – Route Fifty

At Minnesota Capitol, goat caucus meets for lunch, fights invaders – Minnesota Public Radio

TVA will open dams to help navigation on Mississippi River – WREG-TV


Expansion of trail system through North Omaha making headway – WOWT-TV

Ban Cars on Halloween – Slate.com

New electric car ride-share program aims to connect rural communities in Fresno County – Fresno Bee

Revamped ‘NewEngland511’ Aims To Reduce Congestion, PollutionPublic News Service

Baltimore officials have a plan to keep scooters out of the water of the Inner Harbor – WBFF-TV

Bend, Oregon ‘mobility hubs’ project aims to offer one-stop array of transportation services, have fewer cars on the road – KTVZ-TV

City of Omaha seeks community input on plan to improve walking, bicycling conditions – Omaha World-Herald


Resilience for Compounding and Cascading Disasters – TRB

Federal Vehicle Fleets: Observations on the Transition to Electric Vehicles – GAO


Notice of Funding Opportunity To Establish Cooperative Agreements With Technical Assistance Providers for the Fiscal Year 2022 Thriving Communities ProgramOffice of the Secretary of

Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; New Jersey; Motor Vehicle Enhanced Inspection and Maintenance Program; Diesel Opacity Cutpoints – EPA (Proposed rule)

Local Government Advisory Committee’s Small Communities Advisory Subcommittee Meeting EPA (Notification of public meeting)

Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) MeetingEPA (Notification of public meeting)

U.S. Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee; Notice of Public Meeting – Maritime Administration (Notice)

Notice of Availability for Proposed Voluntary Agreement at Statue of Liberty National Monument and Governors Island National Monument – FAA (Notice)

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Amend the Resource Management Plan for the Proposed Rough Hat Clark County Solar Project in Clark County, Nevada – Bureau of Land Management (Notice; request for comments)

Pacific Wind Lease Sale 1 (PACW–1) for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf in California – Final Sale Notice – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (Notice)

FHWA Issues ‘Climate Challenge’ Funds to 25 State DOTs

On October 20, the Federal Highway Administration provided $7.1 million in total funds to 25 state departments of transportation involved in the agency’s ‘Climate Challenge’ program. This is the program’s first funding cycle, FHWA said.

[Above photo by the Oklahoma DOT]

The agency launched its Climate Challenge initiative to quantify the impacts of sustainable pavements and to demonstrate ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in highway projects using sustainable construction materials. That effort is part of a broad array of climate-focused programs FHWA kicked off in April.

“As the sector of the U.S. economy that produces the most carbon emissions, transportation must be a central arena for solutions in our fight against climate change,” said Pete Buttigieg, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, in a statement.

“Sustainable pavement may not sound glamorous, but it’s an example of the kind of creative and important work needed at this moment, and we’re proud to support innovative efforts in this field across the country,” he noted.

State DOTs that received awards include:

  • The Rhode Island Department of Transportation received a $312,000 grant to support a $1 million project to coat a 2,000-foot section of North Road where it crosses Great Creek with permeable pavement. This project seeks to demonstrate the viability of using permeable pavement as a way to mitigate the impacts of coastal flooding on low-lying roads.
  • The Hawaii Department of Transportation received a $312,000 grant to help build a $6 million plastic recycling research facility. Expected to be up and running within two years, the facility seeks to convert waste plastic into new products for use in transportation infrastructure projects.
  • The Maryland Department of Transportation received a pair of grants to investigate the service life and environmental performance of products and materials used in highway projects, such as asphalt and concrete, as well as how dredged material from port construction could create vegetated earth berms to help control erosion at highway project sites.

The Climate Challenge Initiative is part of an FHWA-wide effort announced during Earth Week 2022 to identify innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas or GHG emissions from the transportation sector. It also supports the new Carbon Reduction Program FHWA rolled out in April that provides $6.4 billion in formula funding over five years for states and localities to develop carbon reduction strategies and other climate change issues.

FHWA’s Climate Challenge program provides funding, training, and technical assistance to help state DOTs and other public sector stakeholders explore the use of Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Together, LCAs and EPDs illustrate the environmental impacts of pavement materials and products, including quantifying GHG emissions. These standard practices can inform decisions for highway construction projects, pavement material, and design.

During this cycle of Climate Challenge funding, FHWA plans to host peer exchanges and webinars and develop case study reports to share lessons learned, outcomes, and next steps for further implementation. Over the next two years, participants will receive training and work with various stakeholders including industry and academia to implement projects that quantify the environmental impacts of pavements using LCAs and EPDs.

Wildlife, Environment Key Focal Points of I-70 Project

Key initial components of the $700 million I-70 Floyd Hill project kicked off recently by the Colorado Department of Transportation include the construction of wildlife crossings and fences as well as a “mobility hub” to provide transit and electric vehicle services.

[Above photo by the Colorado DOT]

The project will rebuild a seven-mile stretch of I-70 from exit 248 northwest of Evergreen to exit 241 in eastern Idaho Springs and work to eliminate a bottleneck on one of the most congested stretches of the I-70 Mountain Corridor.

Early construction begins this fall with a new wildlife crossing at Genesee and roundabouts along US 40 between Evergreen and Floyd Hill, with major construction on the corridor starting in spring 2023.

“The I-70 Floyd Hill Project will improve travel time, reliability, and safety,” explained Shoshana Lew, executive director of the Colorado DOT, in a statement.

“By eliminating the bottleneck at Floyd Hill, the project will significantly ease congestion and decrease the number and severity of crashes through more consistent traffic flow and speeds,” she said. “The project will provide alternate emergency access through a newly connected frontage road system that strengthens safety and mobility for thousands of Coloradans that rely on I-70 to access their communities and for the millions who visit the mountains annually. Essential to this project are multi-modal options, including our Pegasus van service which already started last spring, and improvements to the Greenway trail for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy Clear Creek County.”

Key wildlife and environmental improvements involved in the I-70 Floyd Hill project include:

  • Improving the multimodal Greenway trail.
  • Building wildlife crossings and fencing, and restoring nearby creek and riparian areas to protect and preserve the local environment and wildlife.
  • Developing a mobility hub with electric vehicle infrastructure and accessibility options that integrate into the state’s I-70 transit service, including the new Pegasus van service added in May 2022 to the corridor.
  • Providing permanent air quality monitors and coordinating rural broadband access with local communities.