WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today led a committee hearing to examine implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
ON THE RECENT I-95 COLLAPSE IN PHILADELPHIA:
“Could you please talk with us this morning about the role that the Federal Highway Administration will play in coordinating with state and local agencies to respond to the bridge collapse and restore the movement of goods and people around the Philadelphia region while the bridge is being rebuilt?”
Shailen Bhatt, Administrator, Federal Highway Administration:
“On Sunday, when the calls started coming in, we had dozens of Federal Highway staff here in DC and Pennsylvania just on calls all day long and I just want to thank them for their efforts … We are acutely aware of the impacts that this closure is having not just on the City of Philadelphia or the State of Pennsylvania but the region and the nation … Every lever that we can pull is being pulled. We released ‘quick release’ funds last night for $3 million for the State of Pennsylvania and the bulk of these costs will be covered by the [Emergency Relief] program.”
ON FHWA’S CRITICAL ROLE IN EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS:
“The agency must also use its regulatory authority to address ongoing needs. One such need for regulation is to help reduce emissions from our transportation sector, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions—the largest single source in our economy … Last July, the Federal Highway Administration proposed a rule that would require states and metropolitan areas to measure their performance on greenhouse gas emissions and set targets to reduce those emissions. Once finalized, this will be a critical tool to steer infrastructure investments toward better climate outcomes, and I hope that the agency will move quickly to finalize that rule.”
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF IMPROVING ROADWAY SAFETY:
“I would like to emphasize the importance of improving safety. Last year, nearly 43,000 people tragically lost their lives on our nation’s roads—the highest number in 16 years … The U.S. Department of Transportation has taken an important step toward this goal by releasing the National Roadway Safety Strategy, which set a goal of zero fatalities for U.S. roads for the first time … Still, there is more work that the Federal Highway Administration can and should be doing to prioritize safety. That includes working with states and metropolitan areas to plan streets that are safer for all users and choosing highway designs and roadway designs that don’t encourage speeding and other unsafe behaviors.”
ON FHWA’S ROLE IN ESTABLISHING EV CHARGING STANDARDS:
“How does the existence of multiple industry standards affect the build out of EV charging infrastructure and what is the FHWA’s role in facilitating convergence around a single standard? … Additionally, if a single charging technology emerges as an industry standard, how will the Federal Highway Administration make sure that it’s open, accessible, and reliable for all EVs?”
“The public should recognize that the coalescing of Ford, Tesla, and GM—kind of a new big three on EVs—is in no small part due to the investments that have been made in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and President Biden’s focus on this. It is great to see [the] private sector coming together and working to get a standard … Part of our challenge as we are rolling out this new program is we are making live decisions and the world is moving and evolving … One of the things that we are reassured by is that there are adapters that are available … We are excited to see industry coming together and we will work with our public sector partners to make sure we are in concert as much as possible.”
Click here to watch Chairman Carper’s first round of questions.
Click here to watch Chairman Carper’s second round of questions.
Click here to watch Chairman Carper’s opening statement.