The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today submitted its revised Carbon Reduction Strategy to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for review and approval. The Strategy identifies specific strategies and projects to reduce emissions in compliance with federal standards and the state's Act on Climate. The Strategy, if approved, will provide an estimated $35.7 million to RIDOT between Federal Fiscal Years 2022 and 2026 to use for emissions reduction. This amount is a fraction of RIDOT's annual budget and its 10-Year-Plan overall which includes multiple, long-term strategies and programs which will ensure the agency meets it zero emissions goals.
RIDOT had formulated a plan earlier this month and then opened it to public comments. Upon review of these comments, a number of which were made on behalf of community and climate groups, RIDOT revised the plan as is the intent of the public comment period. The Strategy development process included the state's Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) as well as direct consultation with other agencies, a stakeholder workshop, and additional presentations at meetings open to the public.
The revised plan is considerably different from the first version. It increases funding for bike path construction and improvement from $1.5 million to $6.6 million. It adds in $1.5 million to support RIPTA by providing better access to bus stops and ADA compliance at these stops. It dedicates $20 million to encourage mode shifts, meaning it provides other strategies to make it easier for people to make a decision to travel by means other than by car.
RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said, "These are positive changes that will provide the necessary actions for RIDOT to accomplish its part of the goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Public input made this plan better."
The objectives of the Strategy are to:
• Support implementation of the 2021 Act on Climate requiring the state to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050
• Complete a baseline assessment and forecast of the carbon impacts of the transportation sector in Rhode Island
• Identify funding priorities for the U.S. Department of Transportation Carbon Reduction Program
• Establish a framework for the future of carbon reduction planning at RIDOT.
For the full plan and submittal letter go to www.ridot.net/CarbonReduction