National Highway Chokepoint Congestion Relief Act

Washington, DC (August 20, 2008)- Last month, Rep. Michael Castle (R-DE), introduced the National Highway Chokepoint Congestion Relief Act (H.R. 6435) to create a grant program for State Departments of Transportation to make capital improvements to highways to relieve traffic congestion. The Alliance for Community Trees and Delaware Center for Horticulture jointly reached out to Rep. Castle to request that he amend the legislation to specifically include trees and green infrastructure as eligible capital improvements.

Bill Status:
July 8, 2008- Introduced and referred to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
There is a growing body of evidence from studies done nationally and in Toronto, Washington, New Hampshire, and Florida that the inclusion of trees and other streetscape features actually reduce crashes and injuries on urban roadways. Research done in Orlando showed that motorists benefit from vertical features such as trees and buildings to gauge their speed. Other studies that identify commuting as one of the most stressful experiences of urban life showed that stress response decreases and frustration tolerance increases with views of nature. In fact, in Delaware, they have successfully used trees for traffic calming.
In addition, a recent Delaware Urban Forest Effects study showed that air pollution removal by trees and shrubs has the greatest impact at minimizing the effects of ozone, followed by particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide, which are harmful automotive outputs. Conventional transportation engineering approaches discourage the use of roadside features such as trees as being fixed-object hazards, but, in fact, in Delaware, they have found them to be more of a benefit to motorists.
Related Resources:
National Highway Chokepoint Congestion Relief Act (H.R. 6435)
Support Letter to Rep. Castle