Obama administration officials are about to release regulations that could force states and cities getting federal transportation funding to cut carbon dioxide emissions.
White House officials convinced the Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a rule forcing fund recipients to track and set goals for cutting CO2 emissions in order to get highway and transportation funding when complying with performance measures set out in the 2012 highway bill.
The highway bill doesn’t actually mention cutting greenhouse gases, but Obama administration officials told Politico’s Mike Grunwald the DOT will seek comment “on whether and how to establish performance measures for climate-related pollution.” The White House wants the rule to be released before the end of Obama’s term, meaning state and city officials will have “to account for the emissions generated by their asphalt for the first time.”
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” a senior DOT official, whose name was not published, told Grunwald in the Monday article. “This is groundbreaking stuff.”
Obama’s quiet push to use highway funding to cut emissions comes after the president proposed a highly controversial $10 tax on barrels of crude oil to pay for a “21st Century Clean Transportation System.” The White House even compared the tax-and-spend program to a second stimulus package.
Obama’s pending CO2 regulations for receiving highway funding come just before the U.S. is set to sign onto a United Nations agreement to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025. The Obama administration is signing the agreement even though they don’t have approval from the Republican-controlled Senate.
So far, the Obama administration has no plans for federally-prescribed targets or penalties, according to Politico, but officials want to signal to state and local planners they need to take CO2 emissions more seriously when building infrastructure.
Obama’s push for greener transportation infrastructure comes amid news his previous attempts to lower emissions from vehicles, through fuel economy regulations and electric car subsidies, have largely failed to meet their goals.
Environmental Protection Agency and DOT fuel economy regulations haven’t had much of an impact on engine efficiency and have likely added thousands of dollars in new costs when buying a car, according to a recent study.
“The average vehicle now costs $6,200 more than if prices had followed their previous trend,” reads a recent report by the conservative Heritage Foundation. “Prices will continue to rise, by at least $3,400 per car through 2025, unless this costly policy mistake is undone.”
Obama’s also fallen way short of his promise to get 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015 — it’s 2016 and he’s still 60 percent short of his goal.
This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller