President Biden’s New Transit Rule Is Good News for People and the Planet

The administration rolled out a new rule to make sure federal transit dollars are invested in sustainable projects that create local jobs and allow communities to be part of the solution.
President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz.)

The climate crisis isn’t coming — it’s here now. We’ve seen it all around us on a near daily basis. It’s impacting our economy and nearly every aspect of our daily lives.

While President Biden signed historic climate crisis legislation in 2021 and 2022, many may not have noticed a more recent action that will help cities and states across the country take action. Late last year, Biden’s Department of Transportation finalized an important rule that will protect our environment and limit greenhouse gas emissions when it comes to public transit.

The rule will unify a hodgepodge of incomplete data from across the country into a unified standard, so cities, states, and the federal government can make informed decisions about which transportation projects to invest taxpayer dollars in to reduce climate emissions.

This vital rule could not have come at a more critical time for both our planet and transit in our country.

The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. And with record amounts of federal funds already flowing to states thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, there is no time to waste to ensure that the projects being built reduce harmful carbon emissions, rather than increase them.

The Bipartisan infrastructure law, which went into effect in 2022, is a historic bill. This new action by the Department of Transportation will ensure it can not only create jobs, rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, and invest in transit but also live up to its promise of helping to combat climate change.

For local communities across the nation, it means that future transportation projects can be built in a more sustainable way that not only helps produce local jobs but also allows local communities to be part of the solution to the climate crisis.

In other words, it is a win-win. And it will undo some of the harm of the previous administration and help meet the climate crisis with the urgency needed.

That is why this new rule is so critical. We can’t tackle the climate crisis on a scale that meets the challenge unless we measure the size of the problem. And that is what the Biden administration is doing with this rule.

The pandemic and ongoing climate catastrophes have changed how our communities function, work, socialize, and commute. We need to use this moment and the opportunities provided by the increased federal funds to reimagine our community and invest in sustainable transit.

This op-ed was distributed by

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LeeAnn Hall

LeeAnn Hall is the executive director of Just Strategy.

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