FHWA Plans to Track GHG Emissions


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration recently announced that it has issued a finalized performance measure to track greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) related to transportation.

According to the administration’s release, the measure will help provide State DOTs and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) with a clear national framework and an ability to set goals for reduction. 

About the New Measure

To support President Joe Biden’s goal of halving the country's carbon pollution by 2030, the FHWA has plans for two important steps to address the impacts of climate change:

  • Adding a new GHG performance management measure to the existing FHWA national performance measures, establishing a national framework to help states track performance and make more informed investment decisions; and
  • Creating a flexible system for state DOTs and MPOs to set their own targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from roadway travel.

“Every state has its own unique climate challenges, and every state ought to have the data, funding, and flexibility it needs to meet those challenges head on,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

“This new performance measure will provide states with a clear and consistent framework to track carbon pollution and the flexibility to set their own climate targets—which we will also help them meet with more than $27 billion in federal funding through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.”

The bipartisan infrastructure law reportedly includes over $27 billion in funding for multiple programs that federal agencies use to help carbon pollution reduction projects. Examples include:

  • The Carbon Reduction Program, giving $6.4 billion in formula funding to State and local governments to develop carbon reduction strategies and fund a wide range of projects—including eligible assets owned by local governments, counties and Tribes—designed to reduce carbon emissions from on-road highway sources;
  • The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) formula program, giving $5 billion to states, primarily through a statutory formula, to build out a national electric vehicle charging network, an important step towards making electric vehicle charging accessible to all Americans;
  • The Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) discretionary grant program, providing $2.5 billion in competitive funding to states, local governments and Tribes to deploy electric vehicle charging and hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along designated alternative fuel corridors and in communities;
  • The Congestion Relief Program, providing $250 million in competitive funding to advance innovative, multimodal solutions to reduce congestion and related economic and environmental costs in the most congested metropolitan areas of the U.S.;
  • The Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Program, giving $400 million in competitive funding to reduce truck idling and emissions at ports, including through the advancement of port electrification;
  • The Low or No Emission Vehicle Program, giving $5 billion to replace transit buses with zero emission electric buses and other low or zero emission technologies, adding even greater emissions reductions benefits to transit systems that lower emissions at a baseline compared to the many passenger cars they replace;
  • The Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside program, giving $7.2 billion to help state and local governments to carry out environmentally friendly pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects; and
  • The Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Program, providing $69 million in funding to local communities for the integration of land use and transportation planning with new fixed guideway or core capacity transit capital investment projects.

“Transportation is the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and reducing emissions from that sector while ensuring our economy works for everyday Americans is critical to addressing the climate crisis,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt.

“We don’t expect state DOTs and MPOs to solve a problem this large on their own, which is why this performance measure does not impose penalties for those who miss their targets.”

Additionally, federal aid highway formula programs such as the National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) and the Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) reportedly include a variety of eligibilities to allow states the flexibility to follow projects aimed at reducing carbon pollution.

Previous Programs

Last year, the FHWA announced the $6.4 billion Carbon Reduction Program, created under the bipartisan infrastructure law. The formula funding would reportedly help states develop carbon reduction strategies and address the climate crisis, as well as expand transportation options to save money on gas. 

“As the sector generating the most carbon emissions in the U.S. economy, transportation must play a leading role in solving the climate crisis,” said Buttigieg at the time. “The Carbon Reduction Program will help reduce pollution from transportation and move us closer to the President’s ambitious goal of cutting emissions in half by 2030.”

The CRP would reportedly apply to a wide range of projects designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from on-road highway sources, including installing infrastructure to support the electrification of freight vehicles or personal cars, to construction bus corridors or facilitating micro-mobility and biking.

According to the FHWA’s press release, under the CRP, states had to develop carbon reduction strategies in consultation with Metropolitan Planning Organizations to identify projects and strategies tailored to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in their states. However, localities could begin using the funds even before the plans were developed and reviewed.

Some of the eligible projects that were in the fact sheet include:

  • A project described in 23 U.S.C. 149(b)(4) to establish or operate a traffic monitoring, management, and control facility or program, including advanced truck stop electrification systems;
  • A public transportation project eligible under 23 U.S.C. 142;
  • A transportation alternative (as defined under the Moving Ahead for Progress under the 21st Century Act [23 U.S.C. 101(a)(29), as in effect on July 5, 2012]), including, but not limited to, the construction, planning, and design of on-road and off-road trail facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other nonmotorized forms of transportation;
  • A project described in 23 U.S.C. 503(c)(4)(E) for advanced transportation and congestion management technologies;
  • Deployment of infrastructure-based intelligent transportation systems capital improvements and the installation of vehicle-to-infrastructure communications equipment;
  • A project to replace street lighting and traffic control devices with energy-efficient alternatives;
  • Development of a carbon reduction strategy developed by a State per requirements in 23 U.S.C. 175(d);
  • A project or strategy designed to support congestion pricing, shifting transportation demand to nonpeak hours or other transportation modes, increasing vehicle occupancy rates, or otherwise reducing demand for roads, including electronic toll collection, and travel demand management strategies and programs;

Funding was announced by state in the Fiscal Year 2022 Federal-aid Highway Program apportionments, determined by a formula set by Congress. $52.5 billion would go to states for the 2022 fiscal year, with $6.4 billion in total being distributed over five years.


Tagged categories: Carbon dioxide; Carbon footprint; Department of Transportation (DOT); Emissions; Environmental Control; Environmental Controls; Environmental Controls; Environmental Protection; Federal Highway Administration (FHWA); Funding; Government; Green Infrastructure; Health and safety; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Transportation

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