FHWA Releases Greenhouse Gas Rule

On November 22, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Performance Measure final rule. You might recall, AGC issued this action alert, filed comments with FHWA, and supported congressional efforts to block the rule.

According to the rule, states, and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) must set declining GHG targets each year for their reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. However, the Administration claims that “FHWA is neither requiring any specific targets nor mandating any penalties for failing to achieve these targets.” Like everything in Washington, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn’t true.

While there are no explicit penalties set in the rule, it does state that “State DOTs and MPOs that set a declining target but fail to achieve their targets can satisfy regulatory requirements by documenting the actions they will take to achieve that target in their next biennial report.” It goes on to say states must “provide data-supported explanations for not achieving significant progress, and their plan to achieve said progress in the future.”

So, what does that mean? States will have to explain to FHWA how they will reduce carbon dioxide emissions—i.e., make climate friendly project selections at the behest of road and bridge projects, like AGC has stated all along.

Now what? There will be AGC-supported efforts in Congress to stop the rule via the Congressional Review Act (CRA). There may also be litigation filed against this rule disputing FHWA’s authority to issue it. AGC continues to weigh all of its options to oppose this rule. Stay tuned as we will keep you updated on the latest.

For more information, please contact Alex Etchen at

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