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

Nearly 50 congressional Democrats have asked the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) to reinstate an Obama-era regulation aimed at measuring greenhouse gas emissions from transportation projects. Their request aligns with President Joe Biden’s climate change priorities, which are expected to receive increased legislative and regulatory attention in the coming months.

In a Feb. 9 letter, 47 House and Senate members called on U.S. DOT to revive a 2017 regulation requiring the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to develop a tool to measure emissions from proposed transportation projects and use it to evaluate their worthiness. The rule was withdrawn by the Trump administration in 2018 under pressure from multiple industry associations, including ARTBA. The groups argued that Congress had not given FHWA the authority to enact the rule. 

In their letter, the Democrats say the rule is necessary because “we cannot make progress towards emissions reductions without a program to measure and report on performance.” Additionally, they urge FHWA to focus on environmental justice and “improve the methods and procedures” for determining the impacts of transportation projects on traditionally underserved communities.

ARTBA will remain involved with lawmakers and agency officials to ensure new initiatives are enacted in a way that also fosters the creation of safe efficient and cost-effective transportation improvements.