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North Carolina DOT Outlines Plan for Cutting Emissions

A new proposal put forward by the state’s Department of Transportation takes aim at reducing pollution by promoting use of electric vehicles and encouraging transit and non-motorized ways of getting around.

(TNS) — The N.C. Department of Transportation should form a dedicated team to help the state create a transportation system that relies less on fossil fuels, according to the draft of a plan released Wednesday.

The Clean Transportation Plan outlines a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in North Carolina, by promoting use of electric vehicles and encouraging transit and non-motorized ways of getting around.

Gov. Roy Cooper requested the plan in January 2022 as part of an executive order on reducing greenhouse gas pollution. Transportation accounted for 36% of greenhouse gases emitted in North Carolina in 2018, making it the largest single source, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Cooper’s order set a goal of putting at least 1.25 million zero emission vehicles or ZEVs on the road in the state by 2030. ZEVs currently account for about 54,000 of the state’s 8.6 million registered vehicles, according to Jennifer Weiss, NCDOT’s former senior adviser for climate change who led the effort to create the plan.

The draft plan covers a range of areas, including finance, NCDOT policies and practices and coordination with utility companies. The department is seeking feedback on the plan through March 15 and will present a final version to Cooper by April 7.

A major theme of the plan is to create “equitable outcomes for everyone,” by ensuring that rural, low-income and minority communities are not left out of the transition to electric vehicles.

Among the recommendations:

▪ NCDOT should create a Clean Transportation Interagency Task Force, including representatives from the state Commerce, Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services departments, to coordinate efforts to carry out the plan and oversee the electrification of state cars, trucks and buses.

▪ NCDOT and the interagency task force should develop a strategy to educate the public about ZEVs, including “addressing EV and other clean transportation myths” and helping people find charging and refueling stations.

▪ NCDOT should review how it prioritizes transportation projects to take into account greenhouse gas emissions and consider doing more non-highway projects that meet clean transportation goals. The department has already taken a step in that direction this spring by asking the General Assembly to allow it to once again finance bicycle and pedestrian projects that are not tied to a new or wider road.

The plan incorporates other efforts by the state to reduce transportation-related pollution and encourage electric vehicles, including the Advanced Clean Trucks Program, which will require manufacturers of medium and heavy-duty trucks and buses to make an increasing percentage of their North Carolina fleets zero-emission starting by 2025.

The plan also encourages NCDOT to make better use of a report it completed in 2021 that outlines strategies for reducing how much people drive.

“Clean transportation isn’t limited to just acquiring electric vehicles,” said Maya Hoon, part of the team that drafted the plan. “So reducing vehicle miles traveled by supporting infrastructure for bikers and pedestrians, rail and other public transit options will be helpful to advancing clean transportation goals in addition to bringing social, economic and health benefits that come from reducing vehicle miles traveled.”

For more information about the Clean Transportation Plan, including a link to the draft, go to Another option, including the feedback form, is at

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