Obama Administration Proposes Greenhouse Gas Measurements for Transportation Projects

The Obama Administration on April 22 proposed new performance measures that recipients of federal transportation dollars -- mostly states, cities, and metropolitan planning areas -- will use to weigh progress in addressing traffic congestion, including a first-ever proposal to measure greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposal is designed to make state and regional infrastructure planners account for climate impacts to encourage "smarter" transportation planning strategies, such as mass transit and electric vehicles, while discouraging sprawl-inducing exurban road projects.

The proposal would require states to "evaluate and report more effectively and consistently on transportation system performance, including travel time reliability, delay hour, peak-hour congestion, freight movement and on-road mobile source emissions." 

The potential establishment of a performance measure for greenhouse gas emissions caught many in the transportation community by surprise, generating a flurry of criticism from groups who say it goes beyond the scope of the Congressional mandate in MAP-21, the highway bill passed in 2012, and will hinder transportation projects.  

The rule would not prescribe or prohibit specific projects, but many view this type of environmental provision as discouraging projects to generate new and wider roads.  The American Road & Transportation Builders Association, for example, warned that a mandate for agencies to set climate targets could be used as a pretext to discourage highway construction at a time when American desperately needs better infrastructure.
 
Several states and cities, including California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Seattle, the Twin Cities, and Chicago, already take carbon pollution into account when developing transportation plans.
David Fialkov's photo

David Fialkov

David Fialkov is the Vice President of Government Relations, as well as the Legislative and Regulatory Counsel, at NATSO. In this capacity, Mr. Fialkov direct's NATSO's legislative, regulatory, and legal strategy on a range of issues, including transportation, energy and fuels, labor, data security, and taxes. Mr. Fialkov also oversees NATSO's political engagement program, including individualized legal and political counsel to member companies. Prior to joining NATSO, Mr. Fialkov was the senior associate in the Government Affairs and Public Policy practice at the law firm of Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C. At Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov advised clients on legislative, regulatory, and political issues, as well as legal concerns. His primary clients included trade associations representing the motor fuel wholesale and retail industries, including the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America. Mr. Fialkov's focus was not only on the motor fuels business, but also the litany of other issues that retailers confront, including labor matters, foodservice issues, healthcare and employment issues, tax matters and data security. Prior to joining Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School. He received his B.S. Summa cum laude with highest honors from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Allison and daughter Lilah. More
Source:
Web-Only Content

Tell Us What You Think

Back to Fuel & Energy