Duke University

NC - Taking the High Road: Strengthening Coastal Flood Resilience of Transportation Infrastructure, a Duke University Webinar

The infrastructure we build today will be with us for many decades to come, so it needs to be “future proofed” to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, June 29, 2022 - 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.


CONTACT: Rachel Karasik

EMAIL: Rachel.karask@duke.edu


Bipartisan infrastructure legislation (such as the recently passed IIJA) authorizes a generational investment in new and upgraded transportation facilities – roads, bridges, rail, ports, airports, and public transit. Many new transportation projects will be in coastal areas, home to almost forty percent of Americans. There is growing evidence that more severe storms and rising sea level pose a risk to transportation infrastructure in coastal areas.

This webinar will examine the steps that governments are and could be taking to make sure that new transportation investments are resilient to risks posed by coastal storm flooding and rising sea levels.

Some of the questions to be addressed in the webinar include:

  • Are there new approaches or tools that can strengthen resilience of transportation investments to coastal storms and rising sea levels?
  • How can mechanisms such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard be used most effectively to reduce risk to transportation investments in coastal areas?
  • How can plans for new transportation infrastructure in coastal areas be coordinated with plans to adapt communities and ecosystems to more severe storms and rising seas?
  • What are the tools, policies, or regulations that have worked or are needed to support coastal resilience planning in transportation infrastructure?

Panelists from federal and state government and civil society will describe how they incorporate resiliency into transportation decision-making, including the tools they have developed and their applicability across the United States. Panelists will have a facilitated discussion about challenges and opportunities associated with coastal transportation infrastructure, including considerations for stakeholder engagement and equity.


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Jeffrey Peterson

Jeffrey Peterson (moderator), co-facilitator of the Coastal Flood Resilience Project

  • Jeffrey Peterson is a co-facilitator of the Coastal Flood Resilience Project, a network of nonprofit organizations working to strengthen policy and programs to prepare for more severe storms and risings seas. His book A New Coast: Strategies for Responding to Devastating Storms and Rising Seas, was published in 2019 by Island Press. Before retiring from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2017, he was Senior Advisor in the EPA Office of Water responsible for climate change policy. In that capacity, he co-chaired the EPA Sea Level Rise Workgroup and was a member of the Federal Interagency Sea Level Rise Workgroup. He also worked for almost four years at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), where he co-chaired the Interagency Water Resources and Climate Change Workgroup and authored the first national plan addressing water resources management and climate change.

Kym Meyer

Kym Meyer, Senior Attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center; Leader of SELC's Government Accountability initiative

  • Kym litigates on a wide range of cases in both federal and state court. Kym is the lead attorney challenging President Trump's rollback of the National Environmental Policy Act. She recently argued before the North Carolina Supreme Court for the North Carolina NAACP in a groundbreaking case that challenges whether a racially gerrymandered legislature can amend the NC constitution. Kym has been involved in many cases involving climate change, including reaching a ground-breaking settlement with the North Carolina DOT which resulted in unprecedented environmental protections, and a number of new statewide climate change policies. Kym got her law degree at Georgetown. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband State Representative Graig Meyer and their Brady Bunch of children.

  • Heather Holsinger, Office of the Secretary of Transportation at U.S. Department of Transportation

  • Jeremy Ketchum, California Department of Transportation

Who We Are

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University improves environmental policymaking worldwide through objective, fact-based research to confront the climate crisis, clarify the economics of limiting carbon pollution, harness emerging environmental markets, put the value of nature's benefits on the balance sheet, develop adaptive water management approaches, and identify other strategies to attain community resilience.

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