MDOT Exploring Ways to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions as Part of ‘Climate Challenge’

Per the Maryland Department of Transportation:
HANOVER, MD (October 20, 2022) – The Maryland Department of Transportation has been awarded a pair of grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to explore ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions in transportation-related projects. The awards were announced today in Washington, D.C., and are part of FHWA’s Climate Challenge, an initiative to research how sustainable materials and practices could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in highway projects.

“Environmental stewardship is an essential element of MDOT’s commitment to maintain our transportation network and improve services for Marylanders,” said MDOT Secretary James F. Ports, Jr. “We appreciate the federal government recognizing our efforts and supporting additional research that could benefit the environment here, across the country and around the world.”

Two MDOT units – MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) and MDOT Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) – each received an FHWA grant, totaling a combined $312,000. The two projects carry an overall cost of $390,000, with MDOT contributing the balance. The projects are:

  • MDOT SHA — will investigate the service life and environmental performance of products and materials used in highway projects, such as asphalt and concrete. The research will help MDOT SHA set environmental performance measures for Maryland projects and could help establish benchmarks here and in other states. The $85,000 project will receive $68,000 through the grant, and FHWA also will provide technical assistance.
  • MDOT MPA — will study how dredged material could be used to create vegetated earth berms to help control erosion at the sites of Maryland highway projects. MDOT MPA routinely removes sediment from shipping channels to keep the channels clear for marine vessels, and the agency has a strong record of using dredged material to restore islands and protect shorelines from erosion. This $305,000 project will help MDOT MPA determine the benefits of using dredged sediment for flood control and stormwater management at highway projects. The FHWA grant will provide $244,000.

“MDOT is taking a comprehensive approach across all our agencies to respond to climate change and Maryland’s greenhouse gas reduction targets,” said Sandy Hertz, Director of MDOT’s Office of Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation. “Projects like these can benefit us and help us share knowledge and experiences that can be used throughout the region and across the country.”

The FHWA Climate Challenge funding was announced as part of the Federal Buy Clean Initiative to promote the use of American-made, lower-carbon construction materials in federal procurement and federally funded projects. Nationwide, 25 state departments of transportation received grants totaling $7.1 million.

An FHWA press release announcing the grants said the Climate Challenge Initiative is designed to “encourage transportation agencies and others to identify innovative ways to reduce transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions.” It noted the challenge also supports the federal Carbon Reduction Program announced earlier this year. More information is available at FHWA Climate Challenge – Quantifying Emissions of Sustainable Pavements.


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