Federal Rule Would Require Regional Emissions Reduction Targets

A rule shelved during the Trump administration would require states and metropolitan areas to set targets for reducing tailpipe emissions, but advocates say it doesn’t go far enough to mandate results.

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August 18, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Close-up of car tailpipe emitting smoke

Deliris / Tailpipe emissions

According to an article by Jared Brey in Governing, “A recently proposed federal rule would require states and metropolitan planning organizations to set targets for reducing tailpipe carbon emissions on portions of the national highway system that are within their boundaries, and to publicly monitor progress toward those goals.”

First proposed during the Obama administration and rescinded by President Trump’s administration, the rule is being revived to help bring states in line with national emission reduction goals. “Coupled with billions of dollars from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for carbon reduction and electric vehicle infrastructure — and more modest sums for multimodal transit planning — the administration hopes the rule will help states and metropolitan areas make fewer climate-damaging transportation decisions.”

While the FHWA says the rule, which offers flexibility to states and regions on setting targets and strategies for achieving them, should help “inform better decisions,” critics warn that it “won’t have a real impact on overall emissions without changes to the way mass transit and highway projects are funded.” Advocates say the federal government could do more to require climate considerations and emissions reduction strategies, calling this rule a welcome but inadequate step to address the urgency of the moment.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022 in Governing

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