FHWA Proposes To Fund New State, Local Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs For Highway Vehicles

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced in a notice of proposed rulemaking last week it will address the climate impact of greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s transportation system.

The proposed rule would require state transportation departments and metropolitan planning organizations to measure and report carbon dioxide emissions of vehicles traveling on their respective sections of the federal highway system and to set declining yearly emissions targets.

States will have access to $27 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to build institutional capacity for greenhouse gas measurement and to implement projects that will help them hit their emissions reductions goals.

State transportation departments will report emissions through the same mechanism that they do for safety, roadway conditions and other metrics required by the FHWA.

The proposed rule builds on the work that 24 states and the District of Columbia are already doing under state law GHG target-setting requirements.

The federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law contains funding through various programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions for mobile sources including–

— Carbon Reduction Program – provides $6.4 billion in funding to state and local governments to develop strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from on road highway sources.

— National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program – provides $5 billion to states to build out a national electric vehicle charging network.

— Discretionary Grant Program for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure – provides $2.5 billion in funding to state and local governments to deploy electric vehicle charging and hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along designated alternative fuel corridors and in communities.

— Congestion Relief Program – provides $250 million in funding to advance innovative, multimodal solutions to reduce congestion and related economic and environmental costs in congested metropolitan areas of the U.S.

— Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Program – provides $400 million in competitive funding to reduce truck idling and emissions at ports, including through the advancement of port electrification.

— Low or Now Emission Vehicle Program – provides $5 billion for the nation’s transit systems to track and reduce GHG emissions from buses, trains and other public transportation relying on fossil fuels.

According to the FHWA, the rule is not based on any specific authorization from Congress to regulate GHG emission from mobile sources in this manner.

Instead, FHWA is basing its authority to regulate GHG on a Congressional mandate in the 2015 highway bill directing the agency to make the nation’s highway system “environmentally sustainable.”

This opens up the proposed rule to scrutiny under a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that denied the EPA authorization to regulate stationary sources HGH emissions because Congress did not specifically grant the agency the authority to do so.

EMA will file comments opposing the implementation of the proposed rulemaking.

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