T4America Blog

News, press releases and other updates

Posts Tagged "climate"

Justice40 “benefits” could mean more emissions, worse health outcomes in disadvantaged communities

A biker cruises in the sidewalk along a busy street

In President Biden’s first weeks in office, he established an environmental justice initiative called Justice40, which aims to direct benefits from federal investments to disadvantaged communities. Today, the administration is working on more specific guidance on how Justice40 should be applied, which will determine how effective this effort will be.

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Getting to equitable outcomes in the infrastructure law

A crowd of pedestrians in downtown Seattle

Despite the rhetoric, the infrastructure law falls well short of truly addressing the decades of harm our transportation system has inflicted on marginalized communities, and could even exacerbate existing inequities. However, it does provide some notable opportunities to restore and invest in these communities’ infrastructure needs.

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The infrastructure law is not climate legislation, but states could make it green

A man observes a stretch of Dock Street in Annapolis, Md., that flooded after the area received over three quarters of an inch of rain in 24 hours on Jan. 25, 2010.

Though distinctly not serious about fighting climate change, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, the infrastructure law) can still help lead to some decent climate outcomes if states and metro areas make the choice to prioritize doing so with their flexible funding.

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The infrastructure law and safety: Will it be able to move the needle?

The new infrastructure law authorizes around $650 billion to fund transportation infrastructure through formula and competitive grant programs, some of which have safety as a core emphasis. Here’s what you need to know about the new money and (modest) policy changes to the safety program, as well as how you can make them work for you.

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USDOT urges states to prioritize repair, safety, and climate with their influx of infrastructure bill cash

road sign that says "changed priorities ahead"

Although state DOTs have always been free to prioritize repair, safety, or improving access for everyone across the entire system, most have traditionally chosen to use that flexibility to build new highways instead. With state DOT coffers soon to be loaded with billions from the new infrastructure bill, USDOT is urging states via a new […]

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Reducing emissions with better transit, part two: Improve transit access

Increasing funding for transit operations is a vital first step to help more people drive less, but there’s an equally important next step: connecting more people by transit to more of the destinations they currently reach by car.

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Lemonade from lemons: Improvements worth celebrating within flawed infrastructure bill

Pier 1 embarcadero

Money from the finalized $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal is already flowing out to states and metro areas who are plugging it right into projects both already underway and on the horizon. After covering six things the administration should do immediately to maximize this mammoth infusion of unexpected cash, here’s a longer look at some of the law’s incremental or notable successes, with the aim of equipping the administration and advocates alike to steer this money toward the best possible outcomes.

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From policy to action: Six things USDOT should do yesterday to maximize the potential of the infrastructure deal

entrance to the USDOT headquarters

Because of the shortcomings in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)’s actual policy, an enormous amount of pressure now rests on USDOT and Secretary Buttigieg to deliver on the administration’s promises. But the good news is that there are scores of actions that USDOT can take to deliver positive outcomes for equity, climate, safety, state of repair, and enhancing community connections.

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Electric vehicles aren’t good for equity, but we should try

An electric Smart car charges at a curbside charging station in DC

Electric vehicles, while vital for reducing emissions and meeting our long-term emissions reduction goals, are not a good strategy for improving existing inequities in transportation. But there are specific things we can and should do to make this transition more equitable than it otherwise would be.

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Electric vehicles are good for emissions, bad for advancing equity

A Black man walks to a bus stop along a multi-lane highway

Climate funders, electric vehicle industry groups, and environmentalists are rightly confronting the question of how to address equity in the electric vehicle space. They may not like the answer.

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The bipartisan infrastructure deal’s passage: More money for more of the same

Yesterday the Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure deal, which incorporates the Senate transportation reauthorization in all its good and all its flaws. We outline what’s in it and where to go from here.

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Nine ways the House’s transportation proposal starts to make a “paradigm shift”

With the House’s INVEST in America Act being considered in committee on Wednesday, it’s a good time to look at what else beyond our core three principles in the bill are worth praising and potentially even improving.

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Minnesota takes important steps to drive down emissions

To address urgent climate needs, every state will need to make it possible for their residents to drive less every day. But too many shy away from taking concrete steps to do so, putting all of their efforts into improving fuel efficiency and electric vehicle adoption. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) just took a key step in the fight against climate change: setting an ambitious target for reducing driving (measured as vehicle miles traveled, or VMT).

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Why the INVEST Act is good for climate and business

We can have it all: a federal transportation program that reduces carbon emissions while boosting our economy. The House of Representatives led the way last summer with the INVEST Act, a bill that starts the work of connecting federal funding to the transportation outcomes Americans—including our businesses—need. Here’s how.

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Over 75 organizations and elected officials want the greenhouse gas performance measure reinstated

Reducing transportation emissions is necessary to slow down climate change. Which is why in less than a week, over 75 organizations and elected officials signed a letter by Transportation for America urging the Biden administration to reinstate the greenhouse gas (GHG) performance measure for transportation. This letter supported a similar effort in Congress led by Senator Cardin and Rep. Blumenauer.

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How zoning keeps the number of low-emission neighborhoods artificially low

Many Americans want to live in walkable neighborhoods that are served by rapid public transportation. But these neighborhoods are few and far between and incredibly expensive to live in. That’s because in many cities and towns, building walkable neighborhoods is illegal, putting a premium on the few dense communities that exist.

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Everything we liked (and didn’t like) at Buttigieg’s Transportation Secretary confirmation hearing

Last Thursday, former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg faced the Senate for questioning on his nomination to be Secretary of Transportation. We liked almost all of his answers, and we weren’t alone: Senator Tester said Buttigieg’s testimony was “refreshing.” Here’s what T4America liked and didn’t like from Buttigieg’s confirmation hearing.

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How the Biden administration can make immediate strides on climate and racial equity

The spread of COVID-19 has sent the United States plummeting into an unprecedented national crisis, but it has also illuminated the path forward. Smart Growth America, along with some of our programs, identified immediate executive actions and long-term policy changes that the incoming Biden administration can implement to eliminate structural inequities and address catastrophic global climate change.

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Driving Down Emissions in Minnesota

State and local policymakers have an important role to play in making it possible for people to drive less, which is essential for lowering transportation emissions. With our partners at Move Minnesota we produced a new case study companion to Driving Down Emissions looking at how Minnesota has seen some success reducing transportation emissions, why that progress won’t be sufficient, and how to stop leaving valuable strategies to create more livable and equitable communities on the table.

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We’ll never address climate change without making it possible for people to drive less

With transportation accounting for the largest share of carbon emissions in the U.S., we’ll never achieve ambitious climate targets or create more livable and equitable communities if we don’t find ways to allow people to get around outside of a car—or provide more housing in places where that’s already an option. Our new report shows how we can reach those targets while building a more just and equitable society.

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