Biden administration proposes rule requiring states, cities to set transportation climate targets

·2 min read

A proposed rule released by the Biden administration Thursday would require states and cities to set carbon emission reduction targets for transportation.

The draft rule would require state transportation departments and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) with National Highway System mileage within their boundaries to both measure their transportation-related emissions and develop reduction targets.

This would build on existing regulations that require those institutions to track other forms of air pollutants. Transportation is the single largest source of carbon emissions.

Under the terms of the rule, both state departments of transportation and MPOs would be required to report their progress on meeting their emissions goals twice a year. The proposal contains no specific requirements for the goals, saying it would allow states and cities to determine which targets “are appropriate for their communities and … work for their respective climate change and other policy priorities.”

“With today’s announcement, we are taking an important step forward in tackling transportation’s share of the climate challenge, and we don’t have a moment to waste,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “Our approach gives states the flexibility they need to set their own emission reduction targets, while providing them with resources from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to meet those targets and protect their communities.”

The bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law by President Biden in November put just under $6.5 billion toward helping local and state governments reduce highway-related emissions. The funds, announced in April, are contingent on recipients developing an emissions reduction strategy.

In a statement Thursday, Evergreen Action Chief of Staff Lena Moffitt called the proposal “a strong step to ensure states drive down greenhouse gas pollution from the most climate polluting sector of our economy.”

“We are encouraged to see the Department of Transportation (DOT) taking necessary action in line with Evergreen’s recommendations to ensure investments in America’s 21st century transportation infrastructure can be deployed in a way that will help deliver on President Biden’s climate commitments,” she said.

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