The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking this week detailing performance measurements for congestion, freight and on-road mobile source emissions for the national highway System which it was required to do in the 2013 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) reauthorization law. Under the proposal states would be required to monitor, report and set targets for improving performance by measuring travel reliability, peak-hour congestion, freight movements, and on-road emissions of pollutants like ozone. The performance measures would then be used to manage investment of Federal-aid highway funds to achieve these state performance goals which ultimately would help make progress towards meeting national goals. Generally the measurements are considered an improvement in managing the program and in demonstrating to the public the benefits achieved from federal investments in highways. One of the national commissions set up in earlier SAFETEA-LU legislation called for the establishment of performance measures.
The notice, however, proposes to go beyond MAP-21 requirements by attempting to use the rulemaking to address the Administration’s climate agenda by expanding the proposed rule to include greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal asks for comments on whether and how to establish performance measures for climate-related (greenhouse gas) emissions. The notice also asks for comment on whether or not emissions from off road construction equipment should be used in this metric. These measures could then be used as a determining factor in whether to move forward with specific highway or bridge improvement projects. The comment period on the rule is open for 90 days and AGC will be responding to the request.