DOT latest wish list targets greenhouse gas emissions

| 4/23/2010

The U.S. DOT has unveiled a report detailing countless possible ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in transportation. Among the possibilities are a national speed limit of 55 mph and incentives such as congestion pricing to take vehicles and freight off the roadways.

The report, unveiled on Thursday, April 22, is titled Transportation’s Role in Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The report also looks at fuel taxes, idle reduction, and various other cost increases that would be paid by highway users – all in the name of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

OOIDA Director of Legislative Affairs Mike Joyce says it’s not surprising that the DOT released the report on Earth Day while three U.S. senators continue to work on climate-change legislation that could be announced in the coming days.

“There are some suggestions like a national speed limit of 55 mph, and we would have some serious concerns with that,” Joyce told Land Line Now on Sirius XM.

“The report also seems to play into the hands of the current DOT policy of limiting vehicle miles traveled – meaning forcing cars and trucks off the road, creating more livable communities or sustainable communities.

“We appreciate that policy, but the people that want to be part of those livable, sustainable communities need to step up, and they need to pay for those. They shouldn’t take that funding and those resources out of highway users’ pockets.”

Joyce said trucking started down the green path years ago with regulations, laws and new technologies.

“The reductions in NOx have been unbelievable over the last decade,” Joyce told Land Line Magazine.

“In appearance, the trucks may look the same on the outside, but the engines are running cleaner than they ever have. Yet, the average price of a truck has increased by $21,000 since 2002.

Joyce said OOIDA advocates for the EPA SmartWay program and assists members in finding grants for idle-reduction technologies.

“We’re implementing an APU idle-reduction program, and we want to continue that relationship to tell the story of the contributions that truckers are making,” Joyce said.

The DOT report, Joyce said, stems from a mandate in a 2007 energy bill. Congressional committees will likely draw from the report when crafting future legislation. Stakeholder groups are also likely to single out parts of the report to advance their agendas, Joyce said.

– By David Tanner, associate editor

Land Line Now Senior Correspondent Terry Scruton contributed to this report.