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Phyllis Harden

Legislative & Special Projects, Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel
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FHWA Repeals Greenhouse Gas Performance Measures

May 30, 2018

AGC Fights Back Against Obama-Era Rule that Would Have Slowed Project Approval

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) this week repealed a regulation put in place in the waning days of the Obama Administration that would have required states to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on highways as part of the planning process for transportation improvement projects. The Obama Administration’s U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued the rule in response to requirements in the 2012 and 2015 surface transportation legislation for states to adopt performance measurements to ensure the most efficient investment of federal transportation funds.  The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) outlined the performance measurements that were to be adopted and limited the measurements to those specified.  However, FHWA initially chose to go beyond the MAP-21 requirements and, because the Obama rule was finalized, the Trump Administration went through a formal public-notice-and-comment rulemaking process to repeal the GHG performance requirement. AGC’s comments on the repeal proposal were cited in this week’s final repeal notice. 

AGC was actively involved in fighting this rule from its inception. When first proposed, AGC raised concerns about its legality and application in a 14-page letter.  Later, AGC joined with 38 other organizations with similar interests in transportation infrastructure enhancements in challenging FHWA’s authority to mandate the measurements – click here for the coalition’s letter.  AGC also submitted a second round of comments pointing out that the GHG measurement rule would undermine the transportation planning process, could adversely impact air quality and duplicates other federal initiatives related to GHG already underway.  AGC also raised the issue in a meeting with Transportation Secretary Chao in her first days on the job following Senate confirmation.  In response to notification of regulatory review from the White House and DOT, AGC again suggested repealing the rule in the association’s written comments to both.

For more background on this issue, please see prior AGC articles here and here.  If you have additional questions, contact AGC’s Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org

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