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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Interagency Commitment to Lower Transportation Emissions and Consumer Costs, Bolster Domestic Energy Security

The Biden Administration today announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among four federal agencies to accelerate the nation’s affordable and equitable clean transportation future. The U.S. Departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will work collectively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation sector and to ensure resilient and accessible mobility options for all Americans. Domestic transportation—including both passenger and freight—produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector. Working closely with states, local communities, Tribal communities, labor unions, nonprofits, and the private sector, the agencies will combine efforts to advance low- and zero-emission transportation solutions to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, create clean transportation jobs, and support President Biden’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050. . . .

With the billions of dollars in clean transportation investments provided by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, the United States is well-positioned to lead the global clean transportation market and create millions of jobs for  American workers. The agencies will accomplish this by increasing access to more efficient modes of transportation like walking, biking, transit and rail, while lowering the costs of electric vehicles and other zero emission vehicles and fuels to allow American families and businesses the opportunity to immediately enjoy the benefits of the affordable, clean energy revolution.

The collective efforts of these four federal agencies directly influence transportation, energy and land use decisions, technologies, and infrastructure investments. The MOU commits the agencies to release—within 90 days of the MOU signing—a comprehensive blueprint for decarbonizing the transportation sector that will help guide future policy decisions, as well as research, development, demonstration, and deployment in the public and private sectors. The blueprint will ensure a coordinated whole-of-government approach to address challenges to achieving widespread and equitable decarbonization of the domestic transportation sector. This includes increasing access to safe, active transportation options, providing clean and affordable transit options, modernizing the grid to meet increased demands from the electric vehicle sector, and reducing emissions from the entire lifecycle of transportation, including emissions from construction. This coordinated approach will prioritize climate resilience while saving consumers money, improving air quality, and ensuring that all communities benefit from a decarbonized transportation sector.

The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will serve as the program office responsible for carrying out the goal of the MOU on behalf of DOE, in consultation with other DOE offices; the DOT Office of the Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy (OST-P) will serve as the program office responsible for carrying out the goals of the MOU on behalf of DOT; the EPA Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) will serve as the program office responsible for carrying out the goals of the MOU on behalf of EPA, in consultation with the Office of Policy (OP); and the HUD Office·of Community Planning and Development (CPD) will serve as the program office responsible for carrying out the goals of the MOU on behalf of HUD. EERE, OST-P, OAR and CPD shall be referred to as the "Party" or "Parties" as appropriate. In the EOP, the Climate Policy Office will serve as the coordinating office.  
 
In recognition of the critical role that the transportation sector will play in addressing the global climate crisis and building a clean economy, the Parties undertake this MOU to ensure the highest level of collaboration and coordination. The Parties plan to coordinate on policy and accelerate the research, development, demonstration, and deployment needed for innovative solutions and technologies that enable a clean, safe, accessible, equitable, and decarbonized transportation system for all. . . .
 
The Parties resolve to work together towards the following high-level goals:

1. Decarbonize the transportation sector: Rapidly decarbonize the transportation sector, including all passenger and freight transportation modes, based on common goals shared across all Parties, and in cooperation with States, regional entities, and local and Tribal governments, by implementing sound policies, incentivizing industry action, and catalyzing private investments in clean energy and transportation. Moreover, the Parties seek to ensure that transportation infrastructure accounts for sustainability comprehensively, including: the full life-cycle emissions and costs of transportation vehicles, fuels, and materials; the impacts of land use planning and development patterns; and the interactions between decarbonized transportation and the broader energy system, especially the electrical grid.

2. Reduce air pollution: The Parties recognize the air quality co-benefits associated with transportation decarbonization and seek to reduce local air pollution resulting from the production and use of transportation vehicles, fuels, and infrastructure, in order to improve air quality in all communities, particularly those communities disproportionately affected by.air pollution.

3. Cut costs for consumers by increasing affordability of energy efficient transportation options: Decrease household mobility costs, travel times, and emissions by integrating affordable clean transportation and mobility options, including walking and biking, through I.and use planning and ensuring equitable access to clean transportation, enhancing mobility for all people, including people with disabilities. Moreover, provide options to shift trips to safe, reliable, accessible, and equitable low and zero-GHG emission active transportation, intercity passenger rail, and public transit options.

4. Enable an equitable transition: Encourage innovative, fiscally responsible, and equitable-by-design solutions to help meet growing mobility demand in all comers of the country efficiently and affordably, including supporting historically disadvantaged communities in the deployment of clean energy and affordable mobility solutions. Meet the goal to provide at least 40% of the benefits of relevant transportation investments to underserved and disadvantaged communities while preventing displacement of underserved and disadvantaged communities. Address the interaction among housing, jobs, and development patterns that can often reduce transportation options and increase travel times. Prioritize transit-oriented development that supports revitalization and growth without displacement.

5. Secure domestic supply chains and improve efficiency: Reduce reliance on petroleum while securing and developing robust domestic and international supply chains for materials and technologies needed for clean transportation and increase national security and resiliency. At the same time, improve the efficiency of our supply chain, in order to improve economic outcomes while reducing freight-related GHG emissions and air pollution.

6. Support good-paying domestic jobs: Spur new business development and create and maintain good paying jobs, particularly in historically disadvantaged communities, in the transportation and associated energy industries as new technology and global competition transform these industries.

7. Lead global decarbonization efforts: Position the U.S. to lead international efforts to decarbonize the transportation sector by developing, producing, and exporting innovative clean technologies and solutions while catalyzing collaborations that support domestic and allied partners' industrial competitiveness.

Planned Actions of the Parties: Recognizing the mutual goals of the Parties listed above, the Parties intend to:  

1. Establish a joint, executive-level team to implement this MOU across all levels of staff and report back to the heads of each agency within 45 days and every six months thereafter.

2. Take a "whole-of-government'' approach to achieving the goals outlined above, coordinating with other Federal agencies (e.g., Departments of Agriculture, State, Commerce, Labor, and Defense), as well as the Executive Office of the President, including CPO, the Council on Environmental Quality and the NCTF).

3. Work jointly to gather input from key transportation and energy stakeholders across industry, labor, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia, and State, local and Tribal governments,

4. Within 90 days, draft a decarbonization strategy for the transportation sector across all transportation modes to guide future policy, research, development, demonstration, and deployment in the public and private sectors.

5. Ensure cross-agency coordination in the planning, formation and execution of transportation research, development, demonstration, and deployment plans, including data sharing to accelerate learning, promote transparency, and track progress.

6. Support the planning and deployment of additional transportation infrastructure needs, including electric infrastructure to support transportation decarbonization.

7. Coordinate government transportation policies at the Federal level through the NCTF to provide clear leadership nationally and internationally.

8. Coordinate place-based, interagency technical assistance particularly to disadvantaged communities with the goal to expand access to critical clean transportation and other green infrastructure investments.

9. Ensure that the executive-level team recognizes and coordinates with the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, which was created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)).
 
News release: https://www.energy.gov/articles/biden-harris-administration-announces-interagency-commitment-lower-transportation

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