Mary Peters, administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), threw her support behind the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) mandate to cut emissions from commercial trucks.
Peters testified before the U.S. Senate yesterday that such efforts show that improving the nation's surface transportation infrastructure and protecting the environment can be achieved simultaneously.
"As a nation, we have made remarkable strides in reducing air pollution that comes from transportation-related sources," Peters told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
She explained that air pollution has been reduced "significantly" from transportation sources since 1970 even as the U.S. population grew 33%, the gross domestic product rose 147% and vehicle miles traveled jumped 143%.
Peters added that between 2004 and 2007 more protective tailpipe emissions standards will be phased in for all passenger vehicles, including SUVs, minivans, vans and pick-up trucks. This regulation would mark the first time that larger SUVs and other light duty trucks will be subject to the same national pollution standards as cars.
When those new tailpipe rules and low-sulfur diesel fuel is introduced in 2006, Peters says it will remove the equivalent of 164-million cars worth of emissions from the road.