Midterm election results in state leadership also could affect project outcomes and financing as new administrations take hold and re-elected incumbents sustain infrastructure strategies.
In Maryland, outgoing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature $9-billion plan to add tolled express lanes to portions of the Capital Beltway and I-270 outside Washington, D.C. could face new obstacles with the election of Democrat Wes Moore.
A former investment banker and television producer, he has repeatedly faulted Hogan’s plan, calling the public-private partnership procurement process “deeply flawed,” as well as lacking in transparency and collaboration with the local community.
A transit proponent, Moore has also expressed a commitment to revive Baltimore’s cross-city Red Line light-rail project, which Hogan canceled in 2015 in favor of building the yet-to-be-completed Purple Line P3 light-rail system across Washington’s northern suburbs.
At the time of the cancellation, the Red Line was estimated to cost $1.6 billion and had received $900 million in federal funding. Moore has also proposed a “cap-and-invest” program that would tax polluters to provide revenue for clean energy infrastructure.
In Pennsylvania, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro succeeds fellow Democrat Tom Wolf as governor, whose proposal to upgrade several key bridges in the state using P3 was eventually canceled by the state legislature. Because its police are currently funded by state gas tax revenue, Shapiro says a separate revenue resource for law enforcement will provide more money to match increased federal infrastructure funds.
Also promising to address aging water systems, Shapiro aims to increase loan and grant programs to help municipalities upgrade wastewater management systems and step up efforts to replace lead drinking water distribution pipes. He also supports dedicated funding for capital improvements at state public schools.
Another attorney general moving to the governor’s mansion is Massachusetts Democrat Maura Healey, whose climate plan for the state calls for reaching 100% clean electricity by 2030.
She has also promised to address longstanding issues with state transportation system operations by conducting a full safety audit of roads and bridges and augmeting current federal probes of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s rail and bus operations. Based on those findings, Healey promised to order the agency to create “clear, quantifiable performance metrics” for each mode and publish information regularly about its progress.
Re-Elections and Emission Reduction Efforts
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) easily beat his Republican opponent, winning 57.2% of the vote, and despite an aggressive climate change mitigation push, was seen as key in defeat of Prop. 30—which would have levied a 1.75% state income tax surcharge on those earning more than $2 billion a year to raise up to $3 billion annually for transportation electrification and wildfire risk reduction.
Despite support by enivronmental groups and the state Democratic Party, he opposed the measure as "a special interest carveout" engineered by transport services firm Lyft to gain funding to electrify its fleet.
Three other advocates for reducing greenhouse gas emissions—Democrat Kathy Hochul in New York, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer (D) and New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)—all won re-election as governor on Tuesday.
Hochul held the position that she gained after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned in 2021 against an aggressive challenge from Republican Lee Zeldin, who said he would reverse a 2015 ban on hydraulic fracturing. Hochul, who is implementing an ambitious state clean energy program enacted in 2019, said the ban will remain in place. She also faces a challenge in her next term in resolving the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's still low ridership that threatens a $2.5-billion agency budget deficit by 2025.
Whitman has pushed for climate change measures such as requiring state-owned facilities to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. She favors continued operation of the Palisades nuclear plant in southwest Michigan, which shut this spring and is soon to decommission, saying its 815 MW of power is needed to support the state economy and newly set clean power goals. Whitmer's re-election also continues the state effort to close the 70-year-old Enbridge Line 5 oil and natural gas pipelines, which she has said pose “unreasonable risk” to water quality in the Great Lakes.
The state legislature also returned to Democratic control for the first time in a decade.
Grisham has succeeded in setting statewide renewable energy goals and pushed for stringent methane reduction regulations in one of the country’s largest petroleum-producing states.
In Oregon, still developing results late on Nov. 9 had Democrat Tina Kotek appearing to edge Republican Christine Drazan to succeed term-limited Gov. Tina Brown (D). As speaker of the state’s House of Representatives, Kotek helped guide the passage of major climate policies, many of which Drazan pledged to undo, but Republicans could still gain in the state senate. Both gubernatorial candidates had expressed support for projects to widen Oregon’s notoriously congested major highways.
Control of legislatures in Arizona, Nevada and New Hampshire also remain unclear.
Republicans held onto control in Texas, with voters re-electing as attorney general, Ken Paxton, an outspoken opponent of Biden administration clean energy policies, who has filed numerous lawsuits challenging new rules on the social cost of carbon and on expanded renewable power.