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Arkansas getting up to $86 million to reduce carbon emissions

The John W. Turk Jr. Power plant in Fulton, Ark., seen here on Saturday, is operated by Southwestern Electric Power Company. The company got a B in the report released Monday by the Sierra Club.
Michael Hibblen
Southwestern Electric Power Company's John W. Turk Jr. Power plant in Fulton, Ark. on Jan. 23, 2020.

The Federal Highway Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, announced Thursday an emissions reduction program will provide $6.4 billion for states and metro areas over five years, including up to $86.9 million for Arkansas.

The new Carbon Reduction Program, created under the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is expected to help states develop carbon reduction strategies and address climate change. Program funding can be used to expand transportation options to help families save money on gas, according to a news release.

Arkansas is set to receive $16.7 million in fiscal 2022 as a result of the program.

“As the sector generating the most carbon emissions in the U.S. economy, transportation must play a leading role in solving the climate crisis,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The Carbon Reduction Program will help reduce pollution from transportation and move us closer to the President’s ambitious goal of cutting emissions in half by 2030.”

The program will include multiple projects ranging from installing infrastructure to supporting the electrification of freight vehicles or personal cars to constructing bus rapid transit corridors and facilitating micro-mobility and cycling. The release shows that states must develop carbon reduction strategies in consultation with Metropolitan Planning Organizations to identify projects and strategies that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions. According to the release, program funding can be used before the plans are developed and reviewed.

“This new program provides states and local agencies in both urban and rural areas the flexibility and funding needed to reduce emissions and build a more sustainable transportation network that will benefit all travelers,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes transformative investments in our nation’s transportation infrastructure, and this is one of the key programs that will help address the climate crisis.”

Eligible projects include on- and off-road trails for pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorized transportation and projects that support the use of alternative fuel vehicles. The projects, which are determined at the state and local level but could be supported with federal money, include zero-emission vehicles and facilities, projects that support congestion pricing and travel demand strategies; truck stop and port electrification systems to reduce the environmental impacts of freight transportation and carbon dioxide emissions at ports; and public transportation projects including the construction of bus rapid transit corridors or dedicated bus lanes. Micro-mobility and electric bike projects, including charging infrastructure, might also be eligible.

Click here to learn more about the new program.