Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New study recommends climate adaptation policies for transportation infrastructure

PR Newswire: A new white paper released today asserts that short-term efforts to increase the transportation system's resilience will reduce long-term costs from climate change and proposes federal policy options for the Administration and Congress to address the impacts of climate change on the transportation sector. A significant amount of the nation's roads, rail lines, and airports are located in coastal zones most vulnerable to climate change. As the world community gathers at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to discuss climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, the study highlights needed research on the predicted impacts of climate change on transportation to address this growing problem.

The paper, prepared by Cambridge Systematics, Inc. for the Bipartisan Policy Center's National Transportation Policy Project, identifies principles and key areas for federal policy action, including climate impacts and adaptation research, transportation planning processes, project development, design and engineering considerations, and federal programs and funding. The paper proposes three main vehicles for implementing adaptation policy: the anticipated surface transportation authorization, climate and energy legislation, and Executive actions. ….Recommendations to Congress include:

* Fund climate research. Authorize funding for the U.S. DOT and its Climate Center to fully participate in a multi-agency, interdisciplinary, climate adaptation research program. …
* Require climate adaptation to be addressed in the transportation planning and project development processes, including: Making changes to the transportation planning factors, supporting longer planning timeframes, and providing guidance on the incorporation of quantitative and qualitative climate considerations and how to address uncertainty. …
* Authorize capital and planning funding support to enhance transportation resiliency, including funding states to conduct inventories of their transportation assets and locations that are vulnerable to climate change. ….

Claude Monet's "Highway Bridge Under Repair," from 1872

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