Key InformationSponsor: Whitfield (R-KY)
Status: Passed Committee (
The bill would direct the President to establish a new Transportation Fuels Regulatory Committee (Committee) to analyze and report on the cumulative impacts of certain rules and actions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state and local governments on gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas prices. The Committee would be chaired by the Secretary of Energy, and members would include: the Secretary of Transportation, acting through the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Chief Economist and the Under Secretary for International Trade; the Secretary of Labor, acting through the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics; the Secretary of the Treasury, acting through the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy of the Department of the Treasury; the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Chief Economist; the Administrator of the EPA; the Chairman of the United States International Trade Commission, acting through the Director of the Office of Economics; and the Administrator of the Energy Information Administration.
The bill would direct the committee to conduct analyses during calendar years 2016 and 2020, estimating the impact of EPA regulations on fuel prices; capital and operating costs imposed on regulated businesses; global economic competitiveness of the United States and any loss of domestic refining capacity; other cumulative costs and cumulative benefits; and national, state, and regional employment, including impacts associated with changes in gasoline, diesel fuel, or natural gas prices and facility closures.
Covered rules would include:
• Control of Air Pollution From New Motor Vehicles: Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standard;
• Any rule proposed after March 15, 2012, establishing or revising a standard of performance or emission standard under section 111 or 112 of the Clean Air Act;
• Any rule proposed after March 15, 2012, for implementation of the Renewable Fuel Program under section 211(o) of the Clean Air Act; and
• National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone, published at 73 Federal Register 16436, Reconsideration of the 2008 Ozone Primary and Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards, as described in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions under Regulatory Identification Number 2060-AP98, and any subsequent rule revising or supplementing the national ambient air quality standards for ozone under section 109 of the Clean Air Act.
Covered Actions include “any action, to the extent such action affects facilities involved in the production, transportation, or distribution of gasoline, diesel fuel, or natural gas, taken on or after January 1, 2009, by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, a State, a local government, or a permitting agency as a result of the application of part C of title I (relating to prevention of significant deterioration of air quality), or title V (relating to permitting), of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), to an air pollutant that is identified as a greenhouse gas in the rule entitled ‘Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act’ published at 74 Federal Register 66496 (December 15, 2009).”
Finally, the bill would prohibit the EPA administrator from finalizing the following rules until at least six months after the commit submits its final report:
• Control of Air Pollution From New Motor Vehicles: Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards, and any successor or substantially similar rule.
• Any rule proposed after March 15, 2012, establishing or revising a standard of performance or emission standard under section 111 or 112 of the Clean Air Act that is applicable to petroleum refineries.
• Any rule revising or supplementing the national ambient air quality standards for ozone under section 109 of the Clean Air Act.
The bill authorizes $109 billion for surface transportation programs for two years, an extension of current aggregated funding levels through fiscal year (FY) 2013. Funding for this bill would come from the Highway Trust Fund, but also requires an additional $10.5 billion in revenues and offsets, which are included in the bill.
|Download the Full Summary|
|Overview of State-Related Provisions in the Senate’s Transportation Reauthorization Legislation, “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21)|
MAP-21 would reduce the number of highway programs from roughly 90 to 30, and restructures the overall federal-aid highway program around five “core” programs: congestion mitigation and air quality (CMAQ), national highway performance, transportation mobility, highway safety improvement, and
**Please Note: This summary is based on the bill and manager's amendment as passed by the Senate on March 14, 2012. However, until final text of the bill is available, the content in this summary may be subject to change.**
Key provisions of the bill would:
- Direct the Secretary of Transportation to create performance measures for safety, road conditions, and overall system performance that states would have to make progress towards or risk losing some of their funding;
- Eliminate various formulas now attached to individual funding programs and instead require states and MPOs to set targets based on federal performance metrics;
- Expand Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) funding from $122 million to $1 billion per year;
- Expand the use of alternative financing mechanisms and private-sector investment to supplement traditional highway grant funding;
- Eliminate the requirement that states spend federal funds on transportation enhancement projects, and amend the list of activities eligible for funding as transportation enhancements;
- Alter the criteria for Tier I and Tier II metropolitan planning organizations and create a new class of non-metropolitan planning organizations;
- Create new dedicated funding for freight transportation;
- Maintain public transit’s current funding levels and dedicated share of gas tax revenues;
- Expedite project delivery by streamlining NEPA review; and
Establish a new Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission.
To read the detailed summary of the bill, click here.
On December 1, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a proposed rule to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel economy for light-duty vehicles for Model Years (MY) 2017-2025 (76 Fed. Reg. 74854,75420). The agencies announced the proposed standards in a Supplemental Notice of Intent (NOI) in late July, and originally hoped to issue the proposed rule by late September.
NHTSA’s proposed corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards would require an average fleet-wide basis of 49.6 mpg by 2025, while EPA’s proposed standards would require lower fleet-wide emissions of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 54.5 mpg if this level were achieved solely through improvements in fuel efficiency. The combined standards under the proposed rule will achieve an average fleet-wide fuel efficiency of 54.5 mpg by 2025, an increase of roughly five percent annually for passenger cars. Light trucks will have a lower target of 44 mpg, and passenger cars will have a higher goal of 62 mpg by 2025. The combined standards would reduce the amount of GHG emissions by half for MY 2025 light-duty vehicles, compared to MY 2010 vehicles, and EPA estimates that the standards will save four billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of MY 2017-2025 vehicles. CAFE standards are currently set at just over 27 mpg, and are scheduled to reach 35.2 mpg by 2016.
NHTSA has the authority to establish CAFE standards under the Energy Policy Conservation Act, and EPA has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas as pollutants under Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, (549 U.S. 497 (2007)). EPA and NHTSA have worked closely with the California Air Resources Board (ARB), and ARB recently released a proposal for MY 2017-2025 emissions standards that are consistent with the proposed national standards. California has unique authority under the Clean Air Act to seek a waiver to implement more stringent air pollution standards for motor vehicles, and EPA granted California a waiver for GHG regulations for MY 2009-2016 light duty vehicles on July 8, 2009 (74 Fed. Reg. 32,744). At the same time California worked with EPA and NHTSA to develop a single nationwide federal standard for MY 2012-2016, and subsequently accepted the federal standards that were finalized May 7, 2010 (Joint Light-Duty Vehicle GHG Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards, 75 Fed. Reg. 25,324).
NHTSA and EPA will jointly hold three public hearings in January to accept comments to the rulemaking documents, and NHTSA will also accept comments to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) at these hearings. Comments must be received no later than 60 days after the December 1, 2011 publication in the Federal Register. A final rule is expected by July 31, 2012.
On December 7, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) published an Advanced Clean Car package of regulations to be considered for adoption at the ARB meeting on January 26, 2012. The package, containing amendments to California’s Low Emission Vehicle and Zero Emission Vehicle regulations, will require car manufacturers to offer for sale in California an increasing percentage of low emission and zero emission vehicles by 2025, and are designed to help the state achieve its goal of reducing GHG emissions by 80% by 2050.
The proposed Low Emission Vehicle (LEV III) amendments are intended to reduce fleet-wide average emissions to super ultra-low-emission vehicle (SULEV) levels by 2025, and to raise the full useful life durability requirement from 120,000 to 150,000 miles. The LEVIII proposal includes more stringent particulate matter (PM) standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles, which will reduce the health effects and premature deaths associated with these emissions. In concert with the LEV III requirements are proposed GHG emission standards, which closely align with the recent proposed federal GHG emissions and CAFE standards. ARB estimates that its proposed GHG standards would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 34% compared to 2016 levels, and by 52 million tons by 2025—the equivalent of taking ten million cars off the road.
The package includes amendments to the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulation, which will further reduce the environmental impact of light-duty vehicles through increasing the number of ZEVs in the California fleet. ARB estimates that the regulation will result in 1.4 million ZEVs or TZEVs (transitional zero emission vehicle, most commonly a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) on the road by 2025, and also contains a provision that allows automakers that over comply with the national GHG emission requirements across their fleet to offset their ZEV requirements.
The proposed regulations also contain a provision that will require the construction of hydrogen fueling stations to support the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. ARB estimates that the advanced technologies used to achieve the new smog and greenhouse gas standards will increase a new vehicle’s price in 2025 by about $1,900, but will be offset by $6,000 in fuel savings over the life of the car. It is estimated that these measures will reduce annual fuel costs to operate a car by an average of 25%, with an overall cumulative savings of $22 billion by 2025.
The proposed LEV III and ZEV amendments will be considered at a two-day meeting of the Board, beginning January 26, 2012, at 9am PST.
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.
Transportation, energy and environment officials from ten northeast states and the District of Columbia announced the formation of the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network on Wednesday. The Network will work to bolster economic growth, maintain the region’s leadership in the clean energy economy and reduce the area’s dependence on oil and its emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
As part of their ongoing collaboration through the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), the participating jurisdictions will promote all clean vehicles and fuels and facilitate planning for and the deployment of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and related infrastructure throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The group will also work together to attract additional public and private investment in infrastructure for clean vehicles.
Participants in the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network are Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
The Network's efforts to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles throughout the Northeast will be supported, in part, by a nearly $1 million Electric Vehicle Readiness Grant awarded to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) on behalf of TCI. This grant, announced in September by the U.S. Department of Energy, will fund the development of guidelines for the siting, permitting, and installation of EV charging stations, which is a critical next step in the development of the Network.
“The collaboration between NYSERDA, TCI and the Network is important in developing the infrastructure to support Electric Vehicles across the Northeast, thereby driving market demand for both manufacturers and customers,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “The private-public partnerships resulting from this collaboration will benefit residents and businesses throughout the entire Northeast by reducing the use of petroleum and the emission of greenhouse gases.”
Next steps for the initiative include outreach to interested parties in the public and private sectors; collaboration with the private sector, utilities and local governments on a blueprint for EV deployment; and definition of a set of consistent infrastructure standards. Through this effort, TCI will help the region become a leader in the deployment of clean energy vehicles.
The President has called for 1 million plug-in vehicles to be on the streets nationwide by 2015. The participating jurisdictions’ contribution to that goal (based on population) would be about 20 percent or 200,000 electric vehicles.
The Northeast Electric Vehicle Network is part of TCI's goal to increase energy independence by reducing the region's use of petroleum and advancing alternative transportation fuels. This effort builds upon over a decade of work by the states to build networks of natural gas and biofuels infrastructure.
The TCI’s clean fuels efforts represent one of several regional projects it has launched. Other work includes efforts to improve the efficiency of freight movement throughout the region, expand the use of innovative information and communication technologies in the transportation sector, facilitate a range of alternative fuels and vehicles, and implement the recently announced regional agreement by TCI states to work together to build more sustainable communities.
About 30 percent of all the region’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector, which includes cars, trucks, ports, aviation and railroads.
Eleven U.S. states and the District of Columbia announced today the creation of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) – a new regional transportation approach that will help states build the clean energy economy of the future.
The group, which includes top environment, energy and transportation officials from participating states, will work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimize the transportation system’s reliance on high-carbon fuels, promote sustainable growth and address the challenges of vehicle-miles traveled.
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia will participate, help shape the initiative’s work plan and develop project proposals for consideration.
The effort will build upon ongoing federal, state and regional collaborations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the recently announced initiative to develop a framework for a Low Carbon Fuel Standard among many of the same Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. In addition, the initiative will seek to coordinate with Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) partners already engaged in similar efforts in their role as metropolitan transportation planning agencies.
The collaboration is expected to significantly benefit individual states by boosting the effectiveness of existing state programs, maximizing the impact of future transportation investments through regional planning, increasing private and public sector innovation and accelerating the growth of clean energy jobs.
The transportation sector is responsible for about 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the United States.
Through its Declaration of Intent statement, participating TCI states agreed to take concrete actions to address the region’s climate and transportation needs:
“At a time when countries around the world are engaged in a race to build the clean energy economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions are once again poised to lead the way.
The Transportation and Climate Initiative provides our states with the opportunity to expand safe and reliable transportation options, attract federal investment, lower transportation costs, improve overall air quality and public health, and mitigate the transportation sector’s impact on climate change. Additionally, the TCI provides our states with the opportunity to further our collaboration on the research and development of advanced transportation technologies.
We further believe that this collaboration will aid our current efforts to:
- Reduce traffic congestion;
- Encourage job growth and accommodate the flow of goods and services;
- Establish state and local land use strategies that increase commercial and residential housing density and encourage transit-friendly design;
- Improve the performance of existing highway, transit and other transportation modes while enhancing neighborhoods and urban centers; and
- Promote mixed-use development that supports viable alternatives to driving.
We understand that the future of transportation and job growth in our states requires forward thinking, the early adoption and deployment of clean energy technologies and a regional approach to clean transportation. We also understand that talking about the future is not enough. We must act.”
TCI states will provide in-kind resources to the initiative through a staff work group, which will lay the groundwork for the TCI’s next meeting and seek public and private funding to support the initiative’s future work.
The Georgetown Climate Center facilitated the TCI’s initial meeting this week in Wilmington, Delaware, with financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation.
Agency heads from the 11 states that make up the Transportation and Climate Initiative approved the group’s first work plan in October.
The plan focuses on four key areas: 1) the development of clean vehicles and fuels, including the creation of a regional electric vehicle network, 2) promoting the development of sustainable communities, 3) implementing communication and information technology throughout the region and 4) improving the efficiency of freight transportation.
More than 90 policy makers and subject area experts from participating states are now engaged in the effort.
The Transportation and Climate Initiative was launched in June 2010 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector and to create clean energy jobs by the top transportation, energy and environment officials in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia.
The TCI has also released some of its initial briefing papers that provide an overview of RGGI, summarize policy options in state climate action plans, and summarize climate change provisions in state long-range transportation plans.
At its June summit, the group also released its official Declaration of Intent, signed by all of the leading participants.
Transportation, environment and energy agency heads from 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions released an Agreement to Support Sustainable Communities on June 8.
The states will work together to promote sustainable communities that expand transportation options, promote economic prosperity, enhance natural resource protection, strengthen communities, and minimize environmental impacts. They will promote these communities through enhancement of state-level transportation policies that combine a smart growth land use planning approach with sustainable development concepts, and will work in partnership with community development, economic growth, and housing and land use agencies at the federal, local, and regional levels to foster this development.
Click here to download a copy of the sustainable communities agreement.