The Federal Highway Administration will put more than $6 billion toward state carbon reduction efforts, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced Wednesday.
The Carbon Reduction Program (CRP), funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law, will go toward local and state projects aimed at reducing on-road highway-based carbon dioxide emissions. These could range from installing infrastructure to electrify freight vehicles to improving the terrain for bicycles.
The program will include $6.4 billion in formula funding over a five-year period for states and localities, which would be contingent on reducing transportation-based emissions.
“As the sector generating the most carbon emissions in the U.S. economy, transportation must play a leading role in solving the climate crisis,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “The Carbon Reduction Program will help reduce pollution from transportation and move us closer to the President’s ambitious goal of cutting emissions in half by 2030.”
A Transportation Department official on a press call Wednesday confirmed the program would be distinct from transportation initiatives with similar aims such as the Highway Safety Improvement Program.
“The idea is to provide states with both funding but also flexibility to allow them to make investments that have to meet the primary purpose of the program… but at the same time giving them flexibility for [the fact that] each state may have a different mix of investments that they want to make,” the official said. “There is of course some overlap with those other programs, but each program has its own rules, its own eligibility.”
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Tom Carper (D-Del.) presented the program as economic stimulus that could provide relief amid spiking gas prices. “These projects won’t just reduce emissions, but they’ll also give Americans more options and help our families to save money at the pump,” he said on the call.
After Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) said he would not vote for the larger Build Back Better bill in December, effectively killing it, the Biden administration and congressional allies have highlighted environmental and energy provisions in the smaller bipartisan bill.
If Democrats lose control of one or both chambers of Congress in the 2022 midterms, it will likely end the Biden administration’s chances of passing major climate legislation for the foreseeable future.