Biden-Harris Administration Publishes Blueprint to Decarbonize Nationwide Transportation Sector

By LSN Partners on January 13, 2023

Last week, the Biden-Harris Administration released a blueprint to place America’s transportation sector on a path to decarbonization by 2050. It is the first plan of its kind. This plan comes amid a historic level of federal funding for clean transportation and infrastructure programs in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). 

This blueprint aims to outline medium- and long-term strategies to facilitate better coordination between Federal, State, and Local governments as they implement clean energy transportation programs in the IIJA and the IRA. The three goals of this plan are to:

1. Improve community design and land-use planning

2. Increase options to travel more efficiently

3. Transition to zero-emission vehicles and fuels

According to the blueprint, the Biden-Harris Administration hopes to maximize the impact of the IIJA/IRA investments by 2030, scale up the deployment of proven clean solutions by 2040, and ultimately achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Additionally, this blueprint addresses the carbon footprint of various modes of transportation and outlines strategic goals for each. For example, light-duty vehicles account for 49% of all transportation emissions in the United States. According to this blueprint, the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal is to: “Ensure 100% federal fleet procurement be zero-emissions by 2027.”

Regarding a lesser-discussed transportation “mode,” pipelines in the United States account for 4% of all transportation emissions. According to the blueprint, the Biden-Harris Administration goal is: “By 2036, repair or replace 1,000 miles of high-risk, leak-prone, community-owned legacy gas distribution pipeline infrastructure, as well as an estimated reduction of 1,000 metric tons of methane emissions.”

Furthermore, the Biden-Harris blueprint explores the status of alternative fuels and technologies. Specifically, battery & electric technologies, hydrogen, and sustainable liquid fuels. From the Administration’s viewpoint, battery technology represents the most significant long-term opportunity for light-duty vehicles. However, hydrogen represents the most critical long-term opportunity for long-haul heavy trucks. And, for the maritime and aviation industry, sustainable liquid fuels represent the most significant long-term opportunity.

Lastly, equity is a primary consideration for the Biden-Harris blueprint. Transportation costs are the second largest annual household expense in the United States. The fundamental tenant of the Biden-Harris decarbonization blueprint is alleviating the financial burden that transportation costs impose on historically disadvantaged communities. 

According to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, “HUD is proud to join our federal partners at Energy, DOT, and EPA to ensure that clean transportation investments are made equitably and include communities and households that have been most harmed by environmental injustice.”

With this blueprint, the Biden-Harris Administration is outlining a plan to ensure the historic level of funding for clean infrastructure projects in the IIJA and IRA is implemented in a strategically cohesive manner and meets the needs of America 30 years into the future.

You can read the full report at this link.