The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (once known as the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, or IIJA) is, as you probably know, a very big deal: Much has been written about how it’s the largest-ever 5-year surface transportation reauthorization—and about half the $1.2 trillion package will be spent on transportation. Some of the other investments include providing better access to clean drinking water and high-speed internet, upgrading our power and energy infrastructure, capping oil and gas wells, and much more.
There are concerns, of course. The money will be spent by federal, state, regional and local agencies, on short-term improvements as well as long-range plans, with investments in transit and passenger rail, bicycle and pedestrian projects, a national network of EV chargers, upgrades to our airports and ports, and the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak!
But it’s probable that the biggest investments will be in roads and bridges. And we all know what road expenditures can mean for climate change and greenhouse gas emissions: More road expansions lead to more cars on the roads which means more GHGs which are bad for the climate—because when it becomes easier to drive than to take a bus or train the people who can afford to will get in their cars and drive there.
The Georgetown Climate Center just released a report about the possible effects of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill investments and whether they will result in higher or lower emissions—which will depend on whether investments are spent on roadbuilding or on cleaner alternatives such as buses, trains and electric vehicles.
"Under the IIJA, hundreds of billions of dollars will flow directly to state departments of transportation to use as they see fit," wrote NRDC's Deron Lovaas in his post about the report. "Whether these funds are put toward climate-friendly, equitable transportation investments or plowed into the same car-biased, transportation system we’ve had for decades will determine the IIJA’s legacy."
The California State Transportation Agency, better known as CalSTA, is already on top of this and has been holding meetings with stakeholders from around the state—including transit agency staff and infrastructure experts, activists, environmentalists and EJ advocates—who are asking questions and sharing their opinions.
So please come and talk with us and some of the people who will be involved in the decisions about how California’s piece of this pie will be served up!
RSVP: Wednesday, February 16, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.! And come and talk with us about how we can ensure that investments will do what we want them to do.
Gloria Ohland published this page in Blog 2022-02-08 10:22:54 -0800