DoT releases report on Gulf Coast infrastructure and climate change

March 17 '08: The Department of Transportation has released a first phase report researching the effects climate change on the Gulf Coast's infrastructure, Environmental News Network reported. The multi-year study and its subsequent findings is a collaboration between the DoT's Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting and the US Geological Survey.

"Examining an area that includes 48 counties in four states - from Galveston, Texas to Mobile, Alabama - the DoT has undertaken the study to provide valuable information," so that local officials can plan their future infrastructure plans accordingly, ENN reported.

In a press release, federal officials said, "Twenty-seven percent of major roads, 9 percent of rail lines, and 72 percent of area ports are at or below 4 feet in elevation, and could be vulnerable to flooding due to future sea level rise and natural sinking of the area's land mass." ENN reported, "Subsequent phases of the study are meant to develop risks and adaptation strategies that can be used for planning, investment, design and operational decision making related to infrastructure in the Gulf Coast region and nationwide."

Last week, the National Academies released an infrastructure report looking into the ways in which federal, state and local governments could work to mitigate possible threats to the national infrastructure caused by severe weather and climate change. And in October, the National League of Cities focused on ways communities could build best practices to promote sustainability, preparedness, resiliency and green power initiatives to boost the infrastructure's ability to withstand possible emergencies.

Consideration of increased severe weather and rising sea levels "in today's transportation decisions and planning processes should lead to a more robust, resilient, and cost-effective transportation networks in the coming decades," the report read. The country's transportation system, the report went onto to read, "built and maintained through substantial public and private investment - is vital to the Nation's economy and the quality of our communities."

National Blueprint Tags: Transportation & Logistics, Economic & Infrastructure.