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US DOT Proposes NEW Performance Measure To Reduce GHG Emissions

The Biden administration has touted the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as the first-ever transportation bill to include climate programs. Now, the US DOT has released a proposed rule that will require states to measure Greenhouse gas emissions in order to track progress towards a national goal of environmental sustainability.

Before the administration can implement the new rule, they first must open it up for public comment. The League is reviewing the greenhouse gas emissions rule now and will share our analysis in our next Enewsletter. We’ll also be asking you to join us in sharing your comments with the administration.

Here’s what the proposed rule does:

  • Measuring emissions. The proposed rule requires states to measure greenhouse gas emissions from their transportation sector. The rule gives instructions for how the state can do this.
  • Target setting. Similar to the safety performance measures, states (and metropolitan planning organizations) will need to set goals on future emissions. States and metropolitan areas have flexibility in setting those targets, but the proposed rule requires those targets are consistent with national climate goals for 2030 and 2050, and should show a decline in emissions over time. 
  • Reporting and Transparency. States will need to set their first goals by the end of 2022, and those goals will be public. After that states will have to report on their progress every two years, MPOs every four years. These reports will be available to the public on the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Performance Management website, which should inform local transportation plans. 

What this means for Active Transportation

In their press release on the new rule, The Biden Administration is promoting Transportation Alternatives as one of eight programs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure law that can help state and local governments reduce emissions. 

The League and its supporters have long believed in bicycling as part of the solution to climate change and the movement toward building a healthier, greener nation, as emphasized in our summer “Drive Less, Bike More” challenge. Choosing to go places on a bike is an emission-free mode of transportation (and ebikes are low-emission transportation), and this rule will incentivize states and MPOs to plan for and invest in low and no carbon emissions. 

Over the next few weeks, the League will send you an action alert with our analysis of the new rule, and an opportunity to send in comments on your own. Please do!