While accountability mechanisms for state investment decisions are limited, Congress did insist on one important mechanism that could create an accountability structure. Two years into the law, all states are required to develop a carbon reduction plan for their transportation sectors. The plans, due Nov. 15, 2023, present an opportunity to get states “on record” about how they plan to use this record transportation spending to reduce transportation related emissions. Though the plans are required as part of the Carbon Reduction Program, they are not limited to projects to be funded from that program; instead, states should take a comprehensive look at strategies for reducing carbon emissions from transportation.
Most State DOTs are probably creating these plans now, and this can be a good opportunity to ensure that the right principles and guidelines are in place to ensure that these funds to go to the most impactful projects. Specifically,