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FHWA Funds NOLA Air Quality Measures

[ June 5, 2024   //   ]

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration is funding US$7.1 million for port improvements in Louisiana under a new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, or BIW, program created to improve air quality for truck drivers, port workers and families that live in communities surrounding ports.
The Port of New Orleans will use the funding towards the purchase of new all-electric heavy and light duty trucks to replace diesel vehicles in use, upgrade electrical infrastructure and evaluate new emissions-reducing equipment.
Overall, the new Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities program provides US$148 million in grants to 16 projects in 11 states and Puerto Rico.
The funding represents the first round of grants under the new US$400 million Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program under BIL invests in port electrification and efficiency improvements. This program aims to reduce emissions from idling trucks at our nation’s ports while modernizing infrastructure and strengthening supply chains.
“When truckers spend hours idling at ports, it’s bad for drivers, bad for supply chains, and bad for nearby communities that feel the brunt of more polluted air,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The investments we are announcing today will save truck drivers time and money and help ports reduce congestion and emissions, while making the air more breathable for workers and communities.”
“The projects funded under this program will improve the quality of life for workers and families impacted by pollution from idling trucks while building a clean-energy economy that combats climate change and makes our communities more resilient,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt.

NOLA Goes Electric

Under the project, the Port of New Orleans and its partners will receive US$7 million to buy 14 heavy-duty, all-electric terminal trucks, and five, light-duty, all-electric pick-up trucks to replace diesel vehicles currently in use. Funding also will be used to upgrade electrical infrastructure, track emissions and energy use, and evaluate new emissions-reducing equipment. Partners include BP Pulse, Entergy New Orleans, New Orleans Terminal, Ports America Louisiana, Urban League of Louisiana, and Nunez Community College.
“We remain focused on prioritizing the utilization of green technologies and infrastructure, sustainable transportation, and helping underserved communities through workforce development initiatives,” said Port NOLA President and CEO Brandy D. Christian. This funding helps us continue this transformative journey that is aligned with a broader global movement to slow climate change.”
In this first round of grant awards with combined funding from fiscal years 2022 and 2023, FHWA has funded projects that reduce truck emissions in communities adjacent to ports, which disproportionately bear the negative environmental impacts of idling trucks. Specific truck emissions reductions implemented include replacing diesel-powered trucks serving ports with zero or low emissions electric or alternative fuel-powered trucks, constructing electric vehicle charging infrastructure, employing port roadway access improvements, and studying technology enhancements to reduce truck emissions.

Additional Programs

The Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program is part of the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.
In addition to the US$148 million in grants, other pollution-reduction efforts by the FHWA include:
• The Low Carbon Transportation Materials, or LCTM, Program, started in March, provides US$1.2 billion in funding from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to reduce pollution, including carbon emissions, through the use of low-embodied carbon materials and products used in construction projects. With the LCTM program and the Federal Buy Clean Initiative, the federal government is harnessing its procurement power to prioritize the use of American-made, lower-carbon construction materials, and support efforts to reach net zero emission by 2050.
• The Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program will provide US$44.5 million to fund projects that will strengthen safety and improve bicycling, walking and access to public transit in communities across the country. Improving active transportation networks will enable fewer and shorter car trips and support decarbonization efforts that lead to cleaner air.
• The National Zero-emission Freight Corridor Strategy, announced in March, will help expand the national EV charging network, encourage clean commerce within the freight community, and reduce emissions.
The full press conference announcing the FHWA funding may be viewed HERE (

The FHWA’s programs were created to improve air quality for truck drivers, port workers and families that live in communities surrounding ports. PHOTO: Port of New Orleans

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