Point/Counterpoint: Should Greenhouse Gas Emissions Be Used to Measure Highway Performance?

August 18, 2016

In this week’s edition of Point/Counterpoint, the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee address the Department of Transportation’s proposed rule implementing the performance measurement standards for roads and bridges prescribed by the 2012 MAP-21 law.

In that April rulemaking (more fully described for ETW subscribers here), DOT laid down the details of the metrics and measurements to be used to measure road “performance” (travel times), freight movement, traffic congestion, and the specific pollutants emitted by engines that are measured in the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) highway program. But the proposed rule also asked a question that was not specifically mandated by that section of the MAP-21 law – whether or not the final rule should create a measurement of greenhouse gas emissions by highway traffic. (See pp. 23830-23831 of the proposed rule for the discussion).

The 90-day comment period on the proposed rule ends on August 20. Senate EPW chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) has organized a group of Senators to submit comments to DOT in opposition to the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions in the final performance measures rule as a violation of legislative intent. His op-ed summarizing their argument is here.

In rebuttal, we have the ranking minority member on the EPW panel, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). saying that a GHG measure is an essential part of the performance rule. Her op-ed is here.

If you would like to submit a guest op-ed to Eno Transportation Weekly, please contact grogers[at]enotrans.org.

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