By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs & assistant general counsel, ARTBA
In the latest example of the Obama administration’s trying to achieve policy goals through regulation in its waning days, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Jan. 10 posted a final rule establishing a greenhouse gas tracking system for transportation projects.
The new regulation is part of larger performance measures required under the 2012 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) surface transportation reauthorization law. ARTBA has repeatedly objected to the proposal as exceeding both the authority of the FHWA and the intent of MAP-21.
By law, regulations cannot take effect until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, the government’s official announcement of such actions. The new greenhouse gas rule had not yet appeared in the journal as of Jan. 11, but ARTBA is already talking with key Senate committee staffers to try and ensure the regulation does not delay important transportation improvement projects. The association will do the same with the incoming Trump administration.
ARTBA believes that neither Congress nor the administration sought emission measurements in the MAP-21 performance management process, nor were such proposals included in the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act surface transportation reauthorization law passed in December 2015.
The Obama administration has also been attempting to push through new regulations on employment and contracting law with significant impacts on the transportation construction industry, as well as other segments of the economy.