By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs & assistant general counsel, ARTBA

ARTBA and 39 other industry associations are urging U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to withdraw a rule aimed at placing new restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from transportation projects.

The rule is “a particularly egregious case of regulatory overreach advanced in the final days of the prior administration,” the groups said in a Feb. 3 letter to Chao, who won Senate confirmation to the Cabinet post earlier in the week.

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) regulation, finalized two days before the change of presidential administrations, is part of larger performance measures required under the 2012 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) surface transportation reauthorization law.  In the letter to Chao, ARTBA and other allies reiterated earlier comments that the rule “exceeds both the authority of the FHWA and the intent of MAP-21.” The groups also reminded Chao that neither Congress nor the administration sought emission measurements in the MAP-21 performance management process.

Allowing the proposal to proceed, the letter warns, would undermine the spirit of cooperation in which MAP-21 was passed and seriously endanger efforts at building a bipartisan solution to providing a permanent, stable funding source for the nation’s transportation system.