CDOT issues updated air pollution reduction standard proposal – Colorado Department of Transportation


IN THE STATE – After two months of public hearings and numerous contributions and under the direction of the Colorado Transportation Commission, the Colorado Department of Transportation published updated documents to support public review of proposed pollution reduction standards for transportation. As the CDOT announced last week, a revised version of the proposed rule is available for a second phase of public review until November 18; this process will include an additional hearing, held virtually, on November 10.

“We are delighted with the depth of public participation and encouraged that the vast majority of comments over the past two months have indicated strong support for the rule, and this revised pollution reduction standard incorporates those comments. to strengthen our approach to getting cleaner air, economic growth and a better quality of life in the places we love, ”said Shoshana Lew, CEO of CDOT.

“We are excited to provide more time for the review, which several of our local partners have requested, as well as additional content responding to the thoughtful feedback we have received from stakeholders, both in writing and by participating in nine public hearings across the state, ”said Transportation Commissioner Lisa Tormoen Hickey, who chairs the interim committee established by the Transportation Commission to oversee these regulations.

In addition to the revised draft rule, the CDOT publishes several additional documents that answer questions and comments throughout the process so far. This includes a first draft of a guidance document explaining how mitigation options will be developed and measured in practice. Mitigation measures are an important aspect of the rule, providing an incentive for the addition of public transport, sidewalks, bike lanes, etc. CDOT is also publishing a series of case studies to help show examples of how the types of innovations supported by this policy framework can improve real projects.

To date, the CDOT has received constructive contributions in over 200 sets of comments, ranging from technical revisions to changes that improve the effectiveness and implementation of the rule. The revised draft rule incorporates these comments with changes in a number of areas, as well as key provisions that remain unchanged.

Taking into account the kilometers traveled by vehicles (VMT)

  • Recognizing the importance of VMT as a key measure in monitoring success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the revised rule requires a report on kilometers traveled by vehicles with a provision allowing the Commission to transports to examine the effectiveness of the rule after three consecutive years of data showing a lack of progress in reducing VMT.

  • In addition, the CDOT proposed that the traffic control and capacity expansion projects could not be used specifically as mitigating the pollution impacts of the projects. This change recognizes that while these projects are often of immense value from a safety and traffic management perspective, they can also lead to other inefficiencies, including increased vehicle kilometers per capita.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction levels

Improved aspects of implementation

  • Although the main implementing provisions for the rule remain the same, the timelines and some details are improved to better align with the planning process of the Metropolitan Planning Body and provide greater certainty on key issues.

Consideration of equity and disproportionately affected communities

  • The Department received numerous comments calling for greater recognition that historically communities have been unevenly affected by the construction of transportation projects. The negative impacts – both on air quality due to proximity to freeways as well as limited non-driving options in neighborhoods close to freeways – have often been disproportionately concentrated in affected communities, often minority neighborhoods in urban and industrial areas.

  • In response, the rule (and associated policy guidelines on mitigation) will require that major projects be mitigated in the same region as the project both for reasons of equity as well as to increase the link between impact and impact. mitigation for large projects.

  • As the CDOT creates a new Directorate of Environmental Justice within the Ministry, these changes will become part of a larger transportation equity framework; the development of which will be managed by the new branch. This framework will set standards and assess the ministry’s work against these benchmarks in order to increase public awareness of this important performance measure.

Retain provisions that recognize regional differences across the state

  • The rule has been carefully drafted to focus on transportation projects that have a major impact on vehicle travel. These so-called regional projects (eg widening of a motorway, new interchanges) occur mainly in urban areas. This focus is retained.

  • Likewise, three regions of the state (Pikes Peak, Pueblo and Grand Valley) were given more time in the rule to comply with reduction levels, recognizing the importance of a longer timeframe to strengthen modeling and technical capabilities. This flexibility has not been changed.

More comprehensive information on GHG mitigation

  • A key provision of the rule allows for a commitment to certain GHG mitigation measures if an DFO or CDOT is unable to achieve GHG reduction levels. Many stakeholders asked for more details on how these mitigation measures would work in practice.

  • Thus, in addition to this rule, the CDOT has published a draft policy framework to expand on the details of the practical implications, recognizing that continued work will be needed between implementing agencies to execute this policy in its entirety.

  • The draft strategic framework establishes key principles to guide the implementation of a mitigation policy guideline and a procedural guideline on mitigation measures, including an emphasis on prioritization of benefits for people. disproportionately affected communities, ensuring a geographic link to expected impacts, supporting holistic air quality planning and ensuring GHG reduction verification. It also includes more details on how these guidelines will be established, an overview of eligible and ineligible initial mitigation measures, and tips for documenting impacts and benefits for disproportionately affected communities.


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