By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory and legal issues, ARTBA

Senate Democrats charge that transportation “has been the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States for the last four years” and contributed to climate change. To reverse the trend, they want to invest in “smart growth” and public transportation, establish stronger vehicle emissions standards, support increased research and development of clean-fuel technology, and build high-speed rail.

In an Aug. 25 report, Democrats advocate increased federal funding for infrastructure projects that lower greenhouse gas emissions. This would likely exclude projects that increase capacity, such as new roads or bridges. ARTBA disagrees that new capacity increases emissions, since reducing congestion leads to free-flowing traffic, which causes less pollution than stop-and-go gridlock.

The report contains only recommendations; not legislative proposals. But it signals the Democrats’ likely intentions if they win the Senate majority in November. Senate Republicans did not participate in writing the report by the Special Committee on the Climate Crisis.