• Follow us


The Senate's Transportation Plan Reckons With Climate Change

In an era of partisan bickering, infrastructure has long been viewed as something all of Washington could agree on. Everyone needs to get around; everyone agrees America’s roads, bridges, and other bits are in sore need of an upgrade. And while it’s taken a while to get here, this week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved a $287 billion plan to slap the United States back into shape. More surprising, though, is that the bill—supported by all 11 Republicans on the committee—includes a section titled “Climate Change.”

Yes, the America's Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 dedicates more than 100 pages—and more to the point, about $10 billion—to addressing how the country’s transportation network both fuels and suffers from the effects of a warming planet. It would offer funding for electric vehicle charging stations, pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly street design, reducing diesel emissions in ports, infrastructure resilient to floods and heat waves, and more. If passed, it would be the first transportation-minded legislation to deal with the changing climate—even though no sector of the American economy produces more greenhouse gas emissions than transportation.

The bill is a long way from becoming law. It has to go through the House and then through President Trump; lawmakers also will have to figure out where to find those billions of dollars. But for environmental groups, getting this bill out of committee alone is a win. “Republicans have actually said ‘climate change,’ and put money towards it,” says Ann Shikany, who focuses on infrastructure for the National Resources Defense Council. “It’s a fantastic first step.”

For all the bill does to address climate change—even allocating some money for creating bike-friendly evacuation plans—it does a lot more to reinforce the existing transportation system that’s such a big part of the problem. Of the total proposed funding, the climate bit is just 3.48 percent. “$259 billion—or 90 percent—will go directly to our roads and bridges,” committee chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) says. And while those hunks of metal and concrete are in sore need of a fix, putting them back in shape won’t do much to stop the storms that are coming for them.

The money the bill does put toward climate change funds plans to address both limiting transportation’s impact on the environment, and the environment’s impact on transportation. In the first group, it allocates $1 billion for enlarging the charging network needed to support all the electric cars that automakers (and regulators, at least in California) are hoping to sell. That’s far from nothing: Last year, the Center for American Progress estimated the US needs to spend $2.3 billion more than planned to support a robust national fleet of EVs.

The legislation offers another $3 billion for carbon reduction programs, incentivizing plans “to facilitate the use of vehicles or modes of travel that result in lower transportation emissions per person-mile traveled.” That last bit deemphasizes single-occupant vehicles and offers up more moolah for congestion-cutting ideas to boost carpooling, cycling, walking, and public transportation. It even allows communities to tear down underused highways and replace them with surface streets and green space.

There’s just as much money—$4.9 billion—for mitigating the impacts of climate change as trying to prevent them. Those effects are multiplying: Nebraska’s highway system alone suffered $100 million in damage from the flooding that plagued the Midwest this spring, says Shana Udvardy, a climate resilience analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Heat waves can wreck pavement. Aircraft and trains have to slow or stop service in extreme heat.

Beyond the money, the bill defines two important terms for the first time. Resilience here means “the ability to anticipate, prepare for, or adapt to conditions or withstand, respond to, or recover rapidly from disruptions.” Natural infrastructure “uses, restores, or emulates natural ecological processes,” with the aim of limiting the effects of things like storm surge and heat. Putting the terms in writing provides a kind of validation for those ideas. Groups seeking federal funds won’t have to explain why resilience matters, or why they want to create absorptive green spaces instead of a seawall. “This is encouraging different thinking,” Udvardy says. “It’s recognizing that there are impacts to transportation, and that we need to plan for the future.”

More Great WIRED StoriesHow scientists built a “living drug” to beat cancerNow even funerals are livestreamedLunar mysteries that science still needs to solveAre super-automatic espresso machines worth it?These hackers made an app that kills to prove a point🏃🏽‍♀️ Want the best tools to get healthy? Check out our Gear team’s picks for the best fitness trackers, running gear (including shoes and socks), and best headphones.📩 Get even more of our inside scoops with our weekly Backchannel newsletterRead More

Leave A Comment

More News


Ford’s Bid for Safer Scooters? Sensors Everywhere 2019-08-21 17:15:38Partnering with the Virginia Tech, Ford-owned Spin is gathering data from its scooters to see where things get dangerous and how to keep riders safe.

Netflix's Hyperdrive Is American Ninja Warrior for Cars 2019-08-21 08:00:00The new show pits amateur drivers against a plethora of pitfalls, from a giant seesaw to a "rail slide."

Want to Burn $9 Million to Go 236 2019-08-19 14:00:12The Bugatti Centodieci pays homage to the EB110, and packs 1,600 horsepower into a W16 engine (basically two V8s).

Uber's NYC Troubles, Gyrocopters Take Flight, and More 2019-08-19 09:00:00Plus: A crippled plane lands in a cornfield, and a clever license plate goes awry.

VW's ID Buggy Is an Electric Dune Dominator 2019-08-17 08:00:00The concept car remixed the past to show where a very fun future of driving could be headed.

A Heroic Plane Landing, Instagram's New Fact Checkers, 2019-08-16 17:57:51Catch up on the most important news from today in two minutes or less.

How to Land a Busted Airliner in a 2019-08-16 14:32:03A Ural Airlines plane executed an emergency landing after a bird strike, summoning memories of 2009's "Miracle on the Hudson."

Surprise! Uber and Lyft Do Not Like NYC’s 2019-08-16 08:00:00The regulations are particularly less than ideal for the companies because New York is among their largest urban markets.

Truckers Gain More Freedom, Thanks to Tech’s Watchful 2019-08-15 08:00:00Proposed federal rules would give truckers more leeway in taking breaks—because regulators already know when drivers are driving and not driving

No More Screen Time! The Navy Reverts to 2019-08-14 07:00:00The Navy will eliminate touchscreen controls in destroyers after reports found that many sailors did not know how to work them, contributing to accide

How Many Uber and Lyft Drivers Are in 2019-08-13 06:00:00The Center for Auto Safety wants ride-hail companies to crack down on drivers whose cars have been recalled.

The Gyrocopter Could Be the Future's Flying Car 2019-08-12 07:00:00Companies like Jaunt and Skyworks say with a few modern tweaks, the helicopter's predecessor could make a return to the sky.

Automotive News Breaking

VW fired 204 staff for breaching rules in 2019-08-23 13:50:30VW is cracking down on illicit conduct as it seeks to move past its diesel-cheating crisis that has cost the automaker $33 billion.

VW will reveal a new logo at the 2019-08-23 13:40:02The new, more two-dimensional logo will replace one that was introduced in 2000, which featured a three-dimensional surface and was lit from the top l

2020 Chevy Bolt EV extends driving range by 2019-08-23 13:14:45General Motors said its battery engineering team extended the Bolt EV's range 21 miles by improving the energy of the cell electrodes through small b

Lear retains top spot in J.D. Power seat 2019-08-23 11:42:12Overall automotive seat quality continues to improve across the industry, the annual J.D. Power study said.

Honda enhances passenger-side safety with Autoliv's next-gen airbag 2019-08-23 11:00:00Honda's new airbag, co-developed with Swedish supplier Autoliv, utilizes four major components, unlike conventional passenger-side airbags that use o

New China tariffs to hit $75B in U.S. 2019-08-23 08:53:02China, in retaliation for President Trump’s latest levies on Chinese imports, will reinstate extra duties on U.S. light vehicles starting Dec. 1

Volkswagen recalls 679,000 U.S. vehicles that could roll 2019-08-23 08:18:36VW said drivers could remove the key after stopping without placing the car in park, which increases the risk the vehicle could roll away. VW said a b

Walmart, Tesla look to address issues surrounding solar 2019-08-23 07:10:11Walmart and Tesla said they were looking to "re-energizing Tesla solar installations at Walmart stores, once all parties are certain that all co

Tesla agrees to buy LG Chem batteries for 2019-08-23 07:00:02Batteries made by LG Chem will be used initially in Model 3 cars manufactured in the plant near Shanghai, Tesla’s first outside of the U.S., sou

VW explores buying stakes in Chinese suppliers, report 2019-08-23 06:30:16Options under discussion include buying equity stakes or forging joint ventures with Chinese suppliers, particularly companies with technology used in

Porsche considers movie streaming on Taycan 2019-08-22 18:01:00With twin high-resolution in-dash 10.9-inch digital screens and a high-end audio system, Porsche's first pure-electric car seems designed as much for

Ford dealership gives new Escape to husband of 2019-08-22 14:50:46Casa Ford-Lincoln donated the vehicle to replace one stolen shortly after the funeral of Margie Reckard, whose husband invited the public to attend be

RSS Autoplus.fr

Peut-on sérieusement acheter une E63 AMG 12 000€ 2019-08-24 11:00:00A quel point l'achat d'une Mercedes E63 AMG à un prix aussi bas peut-il vous causer des ennuis ?

Comment préférez-vous l'Aston Vantage ? 2019-08-24 10:00:00Avec sa face avant intrigante, l'Aston Martin Vantage divise les observateurs. Et s'il lui fallait simplement une autre calandre ?

Des bagages à 15 000€ pour la McLaren 2019-08-24 09:00:00Cette collection de bagages sur-mesure pour la nouvelle McLaren GT vous coûtera 15 400 euros.

L'Alpine A110S s'exposera au Salon Privé 2019-08-24 08:00:00La nouvelle version de l'Alpine ne veut surtout pas manquer son rendez-vous avec les Anglais, traditionnellement férus de voitures de sport.

La supercar Porsche que tout le monde attend 2019-08-24 07:00:00Serait-il temps pour Porsche de mettre au point une vraie super-sportive à moteur central arrière ?

Serait-ce la future voiture de sport Hyundai ? 2019-08-24 06:00:00Elle se cache sous les traits d'une voiture de course, mais cette Hyundai énervée pourrait se retrouver très bientôt sur l

Hennessey déjà sur la nouvelle Shelby GT500 2019-08-24 05:00:00Les spécialistes de Hennessey se penchent déjà sur le cas de la nouvelle version extrême de la Ford Mustang.

La Supra dans le prochain Fast & Furious 2019-08-24 04:00:00La nouvelle sportive de Toyota figurera à l'affiche du prochain Fast & Furious.

Une berline Audi RS6 imaginée par X-Tomi 2019-08-23 12:32:00Le constructeur allemand vient de présenter officiellement son nouveau break Audi RS6 Avant...

Le Zapping Auto Plus 281 est en ligne 2019-08-23 11:21:00VIDEO. Découvrez tout de suite le 281e épisode de notre célèbre Zapping insolite Auto Plus !

Nouvelle Lamborghini à Francfort: c'est officiel ! 2019-08-23 10:18:00Lamborghini confirme en image la présentation à Francfort d'un modèle inspiré par le concept Terzo Millenio.

Audi avec un tout-terrain électrique à Francfort ! 2019-08-23 09:01:00Audi publie le premier cliché d'un tout nouveau concept futuriste qui sera présenté au mois de septembre à l'occasion du

Motor Trend

Here’s What the C8 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Could 2019-08-24 04:00:02Not that it’s any surprise, but Chevrolet has hinted that more powerful Corvettes are coming. Given its storied legacy and the fact it has been

Refreshing or Revolting: Bugatti Centodieci 2019-08-23 19:45:31Bugatti wowed crowds at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance when it unveiled the Centodieci. Based on the Chiron, it’s mean

How to Buy One of the First 2020 2019-08-23 17:43:48Emelia Hartford isn’t really a typical Corvette buyer. Sure, there’s a Corvette engine in her Nissan S14 240SX drift car, but she’s

Scuderia Ferrari Brought 60 Cars to Pebble Beach 2019-08-23 17:15:44There’s nothing like an anniversary as an excuse to throw a bash, and at this year’s Monterey Car Week, there were a couple of major blowo

Gallery: The Best Photos From Pebble Beach 2019 2019-08-23 16:54:17Standing on the lawn of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, there’s no way to avoid seeing all manners of stupendous machinery. We don&r

Crash Test Videos Highlight What Honda R&D Engineers 2019-08-23 15:14:44Accidents happen. When fast-moving metal hits an object, the occupants want to live to tell about it. If that object is a pedestrian, they also want t

2020 Chevrolet Bolt Range Is Higher Than an 2019-08-23 14:26:07Remember when electric vehicle range anxiety was a thing? Okay, perhaps we’re not past that yet, but it’s cool how automakers are working

Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro vs. Jeep Gladiator Rubicon 2019-08-23 04:00:55This special story about midsize trucks tackling one of America’s best overland trails was originally published in July 2019, but is just as coo

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Top 5 Features on 2019-08-23 04:00:31The light-duty diesel-engine segment is an interesting study in advanced technologies and tepid consumer demand. Although Ram offered a six-cylinder d

What’s Overlanding, Anyway? 2019-08-23 03:59:03I don’t know about you guys, but as one of the 80 percent of Americans who live in an urban area, I don’t want to see any of you when I go

This is the Porsche Taycan Electric Sport Sedan’s 2019-08-22 21:26:24In our first ride in the Porsche Taycan electric sedan, we could tell it was the new benchmark for EV handling, unseating the Tesla Model S. Now, it l

9 Ferrari Race Cars Celebrate 90 Years of 2019-08-22 19:00:02Ferrari as a brand just celebrated its 70th anniversary in Maranello, Italy, two years ago and we were there to help them party down. But long before

Automotive news - from

Cooper Standard adapts purchasing organisation 2019-08-23 09:32:00Cooper Standard is changing its purchasing organisation to a global commodity structure.

Suzuki to help with lunar exploration tech 2019-08-23 09:12:00Suzuki and ispace, a lunar exploration company headquartered in Tokyo, have announced that Suzuki has become a 'corporate partner' of HAKUTO-R, desc

Cupra (SEAT) gives new EV interior glimpse 2019-08-23 08:21:00The Cupra brand - which came out of SEAT as a sub-brand and is now standalone - has released a teaser image of the interior of its first all-electric

VW expands EV charging stations at German sites 2019-08-23 07:49:00The Volkswagen brand is installing some 4,000 charging points at its German sites by 2025 and the first are already up and running, it says.

Thai vehicle market down slightly in July 2019-08-23 07:09:00Thailand's new vehicle market declined for a second straight month in July, albeit by just 1.1% to 81,044 units from strong year-earlier sales of 81,

Waymo expands autonomous car testing to Florida 2019-08-23 06:04:00Waymo says it will soon begin piloting autonomous cars in Florida, expanding from its initial test cities of Novi, Kirkland, Washington, San Fran

Skoda opens new paint shop at Mlada Boleslav 2019-08-23 06:01:00Skoda Auto has opened a new paint shop at its main plant in Mladá Boleslav.

Volkswagen to show new logo at IAA 2019-08-23 05:58:00Volkswagen says it will present a new brand design and new logo at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It also say the presentation of the brand is to become '

Mitsubishi expands North America dealer network 2019-08-23 05:58:00Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA)  has opened the newest addition to its North American dealer network - Johnny Legends Mitsubishi in L

Mercedes confirms new Citan and electric variant 2019-08-23 05:56:00Mercedes-Benz says it will continue its engagement in the small van segment and has decided on the successor of its small van Citan as part of the Mer

Hella Pagid expands product range for LCVs 2019-08-23 05:55:00Hella Pagid has expanded its range of wearing parts and brake hydraulics for light commercial vehicles.

Daimler expands e-trucks field tests in North America 2019-08-23 05:54:00Daimler Trucks is further expanding its field tests for medium and heavy-duty e-trucks in North America.

Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.