Protest sign on cardboard that says "SYSTEM CHANGE NOT CLIMATE CHANGE"

Transportation is the state’s biggest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, and electric cars alone are not an adequate decarbonization solution. Major highway projects perpetuate car dependency and increase both vehicle miles traveled (or “VMT”) and emissions.

The 2023 transportation bill added new regulations that require MnDOT to assess the climate impacts of a highway project and perform mitigation measures. However, the law only applies if the project adds lanes. Projects that rebuild highways with the same number of lanes are exempt, even though they would cement climate and environmental harms for decades. Furthermore, the rule does not take effect until 2025 and applies only to projects that have not yet entered the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), which includes planned projects over a four-year period. Many highway expansion projects are already in the STIP and won’t be impacted by the new law.

Legislators should amend the law to close the non-expansion loophole and require that the climate rule be applied to all major highway projects, not just those that add lanes. The loophole that delays implementation until 2025 should be removed, and the rule should be applied retroactively to all projects that have not begun construction once the implementation process is complete. In the midst of the warmest winter on record, state legislators must do everything they can to ensure that addressing climate breakdown is mandatory in all major highway projects—no exceptions.

Ask your legislators to strengthen climate protections for highway projects.

Take action and contact decision-makers.