The U.S. Senate passed S. 1813, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), on March 14, 2012. MAP-21 is a two-year transportation reauthorization bill with $109 billion in total funding.
The Georgetown Climate Center has a prepared a summary of the bill, with particular focus on provisions that affect states. To view the summary, click here.
The House must still take action on a bill, which may not happen until mid-April, according to a report in Politico on March 16.
On January 11, 2012, EPA launched a new online data publication tool that provides the public with information on reported greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2010. The database currently covers nine industry groups, including 29 source categories, that directly emit large quantities of GHGs, as well as suppliers of certain fossil fuels and high global–warming-potential gases. Power plants, petroleum refineries, and chemical plants were the largest sources of emissions required to report. As mandatory GHG reporting expands to more sources, the data from these will be made available in the online tool.
The original Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule was finalized on October 30, 2009, pursuant to authority under the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act. On November 19, 2011, EPA finalized a revised version of the rule, delaying reporting of 2010 GHG emissions data for several source categories from March 31, 2012, to September 28, 2012, in line with the reporting deadline for 2011 emissions data.
On November 9, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee unanimously passed S. 1813, “Moving Head for Progress in the 21st Century Act,” or “MAP-21” (Boxer, D-CA), a two-year surface transportation bill that will allow greater flexibility for state spending and tighter accountability measures for state Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO).
MAP-21 will maintain current baseline surface transportation spending, plus inflation, for two years. The EPW committee’s portion of the bill covers the “highways” section, while the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs is responsible for writing the “transit” section, and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is responsible for writing the sections pertaining to “rail” and “safety.” Banking and Commerce have not yet released their portions of the bill. Funding for the highway programs will be drawn from the Highway Trust Fund, and EPW is waiting for the Senate Committee on Finance to identify sources to pay for the bill. Another $12 billion must be identified for the bill to be fully funded.
MAP-21 makes several changes to existing surface transportation programs, including increasing funding for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Program (TIFIA) and authorizing a program to fund major projects of national and regional significance. Of particular significance to the states are the reduction of the number of core highway programs from seven to five, and the incorporation of performance measures that would track progress toward specific targets.
Five Core Programs
National Highway Performance Program: This new core program consolidates the Interstate Maintenance, National Highway System, and Highway Bridge programs. The new program will require states to develop asset management plans and establish performance targets in response to nationally set performance measures that will assess the condition of roads and bridges, and the performance of the system. This program will provide states with more flexibility to apply funds to the most needed projects by eliminating barriers between existing programs. However, the bill also requires that states spend a certain amount of funding on the repair of interstate pavement and national highway system bridges if they fall below minimum standards established by U.S. Department of Transportation.
Transportation Mobility Program: This new core program replaces the Surface Transportation Program, and will continue to provide states and localities with flexibility to fund projects that fit their needs. The program will allow states and regions to invest in highways, transit projects, freight rail projects, and bicycle and pedestrian projects, in addition to other activities.
National Freight Program: This new core program will provide funding to states by formula for projects to improve regional and national freight movements on highways, including intermodal connectors. This program will make it easier for freight mobility improvement projects to receive funding since they will compete in their own program, and not against all highway projects.
Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: CMAQ is an existing program that provides funds to states for transportation projects designed to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. MAP-21 will expand the program by including particulate matter as one of the pollutants addressed and requiring large metropolitan areas to develop performance plans. In addition, MAP-21 will reform the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program by consolidating Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, Recreational Trails, environmental mitigation, and certain types of road projects into a “reserved” pot. While this consolidation will provide states with greater spending flexibility, it may result in a decrease in bicycle and pedestrian projects that had previously received their own dedicated funding source.
- Highway Safety Improvement Program: MAP-21 will substantially increase the amount of funding for this existing core program, and will require states to develop and implement a safety plan that identifies highway safety programs and a strategy to address them. In addition, states will be required to create a database containing information on safety issues for all public roads, and will be required to develop performance targets on fatalities and serious injuries. States will also be required to develop a strategic highway safety plan within a year, and are required to spend additional funding on safety projects if they do not meet this deadline.
Performance Measures: As mentioned above, MAP-21 will establish performance measures related to the National Highway System, NHS performance, safety, freight, congestion mitigation and air quality. In response to these performance measures, states and MPOs will establish performance targets which will be incorporated into transportation plans. Statewide transportation improvement programs (STIP) and metropolitan transportation improvement programs (TIP) must include performance measures and targets as well, and a system performance report must include progress toward achieving each state’s performance targets. These performance targets will assist states and MPOs in targeting limited resources on projects that will improve their transportation system.
The EPW committee also adopted 18 amendments. Senator Mike Crapo’s third amendment allows states with policy plans to continue to follow their current approach, rather than creating a new long-range transportation plan. Several other amendments affect states, including an amendment that provides for the timely provision by Department of Energy of state requests for data and technical support, and an amendment that would provide states ample time to comment on a DOT regulation establishing minimum standards for states to use in developing and operating pavement and bridge systems.
Maine’s legislature passed an oil security law on June 9 that sets ambitious goals for reducing economy-wide oil use in Maine by at least 30 percent from 2009 levels by 2030, and 50 percent by 2050. (Act to Improve Maine’s Energy Security, LD 553). The legislation comes just weeks after Governor Paul LePage (R) proposed to eliminate a 2007 law mandating Maine’s power companies to increase the percentage of electricity generated from renewable energy sources by ten percent.
The Energy Security Act requires the state to develop a plan by December 1, 2012, to meet the oil-use-reduction goals, focusing on near-term policies and infrastructure changes. The plan is to prioritize the improvement of energy efficiency and the transition to alternative energy sources for heating and transportation. The plan must also contain a cost and resource estimate for needed technology development, and may include recommendations for legislative and administrative actions to meet the targets. Governor LePage allowed the bill to pass into law without signing it.
Maine is the fourth most oil-dependent state in the country, in part because of its dependence on oil for heating in the winter.
The director of Maine’s state energy office recently expressed the support of the LePage administration for development of renewable energy, but opposition to funding such projects through consumer rate increases. A University-of-Maine-led project is set to develop a 25-megawatt offshore windfarm in 2017, and to test a floating turbine next summer. (State's Ocean Energy Potential Goes Beyond Generating Power, Portland Press Herald, June 17, 2011).
Separately, LePage proposed a bill (LD 1570) in May that would have replaced a 2007 renewable portfolio standard (RPS) law (ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 35-A § 3210) with an option for individual customers to choose whether to purchase up to 100 percent clean energy for their own homes. The governor argued that the renewable standard, which requires a one percent per year increase through 2017, drives up electricity prices while providing a taxpayer subsidy to renewable energy providers.
The legislature’s Energy and Utilities Committee, however, voted unanimously to delay the governor’s proposal to eliminate the RPS until it can conduct a comprehensive study of the proposal’s effects. (Energy Panel Puts Brakes on LePage's Renewable Energy Cap, Sun Journal, May 27, 2011). A heavily amended version of the legislation that did not include the governor’s renewable standard repeal, but did include some measures intended to reduce energy costs, was enacted in June.
State officials, legal experts, and state environmental leaders will host a telephone media briefing to discuss threats to the ability of states to innovate in the Senate energy bill, which Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman are expected to unveil on Monday. Participants will explain that tying states’ hands on clean energy and global warming would stifle innovation, block action to improve states’ economies and create local jobs, hold the nation back from doing what scientists say is necessary to tackle global warming, and defy the time-tested and vital role of states in helping to set environmental policy.
11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 21, 2010
-David Littell, Commissioner, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
-Doug Scott, Director, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
-Mary Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board
-Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown State-Federal Climate Resource Center
-Rob Sargent, Director, Energy Program, Environment America
Media should call 888-299-4099; the pass code is VF26622.