Federal Carbon Reduction Funds Could Finance Highway Projects in Texas

Transit advocates say the state’s carbon reduction strategy reveals a continued preference for car-oriented infrastructure.

1 minute read

November 7, 2023, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Green road sign with "Welcome to Texas" above Texas flag and "Drive Friendly - the Texas Way" below.

jaflippo / Adobe Stock

Texas transportation advocates say the state Department of Transportation’s ‘Carbon Reduction Strategy’ does “the bare minimum” to reduce emissions in the transportation sector, writes Erin Douglas in the Texas Tribune, noting that the document is a requirement to receive federal transportation funds.

“According to the TxDOT draft document, a chunk of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act money will be transferred to a highway program, and the agency says highway expansions could be eligible for the funds because they will reduce congestion, thereby reducing emissions from idling cars.” As Douglas explains, the plan projects an increase in vehicle miles driven as the state’s population grows and promotes highway projects as a way to reduce congestion, although “Both public transportation and environmental advocates are critical of the agency’s argument that improving traffic flow will reduce carbon emissions from vehicles.”

Douglas adds, “The draft strategy doesn’t use the words ‘climate change’ and nor does it state the importance of reducing emissions to avoid worsening effects of climate change.” Meanwhile, TxDOT largely places the burden of building public transit on local agencies, though “The draft strategy also includes improvements in bicycling and walking infrastructure and projects that support the use of public transportation, such as pedestrian bridges.”

Monday, November 6, 2023 in Texas Tribune

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