— Wild weather is taking a toll on roads, airports, railways and transit systems across the country.
That’s leaving states and cities searching for ways to brace for more catastrophes like Superstorm Sandy that are straining the nation’s transportation lifelines beyond what their builders imagined.
Despite their concerns about intense rain, historic floods and record heat waves, some transportation planners find it too politically sensitive to say aloud a source of their weather worries: climate change.
Political differences are on the minds of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, whose advice on the design and maintenance of roads and bridges is closely followed by states. The association recently changed the name of its Climate Change Steering Committee to the less controversial Sustainable Transportation, Energy Infrastructure and Climate Solutions Steering Committee.
Still, there is a recognition that the association’s guidance will need to be updated to reflect the new realities of global warming.
"There is a whole series of standards that are going to have to be revisited in light of the change in climate that is coming at us," said John Horsley, the association’s executive director.