Federal Plan Takes Aim at Transportation Emissions

A ‘ of its kind’ fed­er­al plan out goals for cut­ting car­bon emis­sions in the sec­tor, but post­pones the biggest reduc­tions to the 2030s and 2040s, accord­ing to an arti­cle by Ian Dun­can in the Wash­ing­ton Post. “The blue­print does­n’t set out new, enforce­able tar­gets, but serves as a long-term guide for fed­er­al agen­cies tasked with writ­ing cli­mate rules and spend­ing envi­ron­men­tal funds,” Dun­can explains.

The plan is based on three con­cepts: ‘con­ve­nient,’ which includes pro­mot­ing more walk­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties; ‘effi­cient,’ includ­ing modes of trans­porta­tion like and trains; and ‘clean,’ for fuels like bat­ter­ies and hydro­gen.

The plan relies on the adop­tion of elec­tric vehi­cles for of the reduc­tions. As Dun­can notes, “The infra­struc­ture law includ­ed $7.5 bil­lion for charg­ing infra­struc­ture, split between a net­work along high­ways that offi­cials will give dri­vers con­fi­dence to take elec­tric vehi­cles on long road trips, and a pro­gram designed to ensure that dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties have access to charg­ers.” The law also includes a $7,500 elec­tric vehi­cle tax (though it notably excludes cred­its for elec­tric bikes). How­ev­er, Dun­can points out that “Elec­tric vehi­cles account­ed for less than 1 per­cent of miles dri­ven in 2021 in the Unit­ed States,” and the grow­ing of large trucks and SUVs is slow­ing any gains in emis­sions .

Mean­while, “many envi­ron­men­tal advo­cates have urged state trans­porta­tion agen­cies to lim­it the con­struc­tion of new high­ways that tend to encour­age dri­ving, and invest mon­ey in alter­na­tive infra­struc­ture, such as bus lanes and bike paths.” Accord­ing to a George­town Cli­mate Cen­ter study, “if mon­ey from the infra­struc­ture law were invest­ed in such green projects, it could con­tribute a fur­ther per­cent­age point cut to emis­sions over the course of the decade.”

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