Cross-posted with the Union of Concerned Scientists and authored by Dan Gatti, UCS Policy Analyst.
Twelve states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic along with DC are proposing to invest billions every year for the next decade in clean transportation under a new policy framework released today by the Transportation and Climate Initiative (or “TCI”).continue
Transportation for Massachusetts applauds the leadership of the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board for adopting a series of forward-looking resolutions to transform the commuter rail and bus networks.continue
A new Congressional caucus, led by Massachusetts’ own Ayanna Pressley, is advocating for forward-looking transportation policy at just the right moment. Representative Pressley (D-MA) this week joined Jesus Garcia (D-IL), and Mark Takano (D-CA) in establishing the Future of Transportation Caucus to focus federal policy and legislation on solving our urgent transportation and climate challenges with better public transit and active transportation, not exacerbating them by promoting highway expansion.continue
A significant portion of transportation spending in Massachusetts relies on federal dollars, which support roads, bridges, MBTA, RTAs, and more. It is essential for Massachusetts, and every state, that federal dollars continue coming in. However, federal funding for transportation largely supports roads, rather than transit, walking, and biking. Advocates that care about sustainable transportation must look for ways to push Congress to do better. Transportation contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector, with levels continuing to rise, so a bill of this scale should prioritize lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing vehicle-miles traveled, while focusing on maintenance of existing road and bridge assets over expansions.continue
In Backing Change, Real Estate Community Can Help Move State Beyond Gridlock
Reprinted with permission from Banker & Tradesman
Congestion is holding back Greater Boston from its full economic potential – and the consequences go far beyond just the time we waste stuck in gridlock on our roads.
Traffic is intricately tied to another of the region’s problems: the high cost of housing and the difficulty of building new housing in many communities in eastern Massachusetts. At nearly every public meeting on new development, officials and developers hear comments from nearby residents that the proposed project is going to create more traffic and that, because of that traffic, the project should be smaller than proposed, or perhaps shelved entirely.continue
Guest Blog by Pat Beaudry of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.
At a time when we are mobilizing to reduce tailpipe pollution and carbon emissions, what would another 30 million annual car trips mean for our air quality and climate crisis? And how would these 30 million additional car trips impact our already chronically congested roads?continue
The Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) is gaining steam. As part of a series of workshops that are free and open to the public, on April 30th, the nine states (plus Washington, D.C.) participating in TCI brought together about 200 regional leaders, advocates, academics, and members of the public at the Boston Public Library to discuss how to make transportation in the northeast and mid-Atlantic cleaner, more efficient, and more equitable.continue
Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA) today announced the awarding of $120,000 in funding to 10 organizations focused on transportation justice and the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) across Massachusetts, as well as in Vermont and Maryland. The grants will help move transportation equity initiatives from concept to practice and promote transportation justice.continue
With the 116th Congress kicking off on January 3rd during a partial government shutdown, there seems to be little that Republicans and Democrats agree on. However, there is plenty of speculation that infrastructure, including transportation, is one area where legislators of both parties could work together with the Trump Administration. This is despite the White House’s February 2018 release of a deeply-flawed infrastructure proposal that received only scant support from congressional Republicans and Democrats.continue
The future of transportation in Massachusetts is multimodal, carbon-neutral, and equitable – or at least should be, according to the panelists at our recent event discussing Choices for Stewardship, the highly-anticipated report released by the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Transportation. The report lays out a vision for mobility in the Commonwealth between today and 2040. (If you missed the event, you can check out a recording of the livestream here!)
Speaking to a standing room-only crowd of more than 400, Commission Chair Steve Kadish and Commission member Ken Kimmell presented on the report recommendations with a particular focus on how we plan for the future in a changing climate. A panel featuring Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, Braintree Mayor and MassDOT Board Member Joe Sullivan, Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, Executive Director of the Tri-State (NY/NJ/CT) Transportation Campaign Nick Sifuentes, and Senior Director of Policy & Public Affairs at Lime Emily Castor Warren shared their insights with moderator Shirley Leung as representatives of the sectors that are key to bringing about the transportation future Massachusetts deserves.
Here’s our take on three of the most important insights from the panel:
-- It’s about people. The phrase “move people, not vehicles” has long been a mantra for advocates and progressive planners, and many were gratified to hear it as the official policy focus for the Commonwealth moving forward. A people-centric approach to transportation starts with recognizing that, on a fundamental level, better transportation makes everything better. The difference between a good and bad transportation experience means stress, lost wages, missed appointments, and less time with family; for a region over time, it can mean a slowdown in growth and an exacerbation of inequities. Putting people at the center of our transportation planning and focusing on why transportation deeply matters to people, and their quality of life, positions us to make choices that benefit the most people in the most places.
-- Success does exist – and we can build on what’s working. Transportation bright spots do exist throughout the state. More communities are offering bike-share, testing elements of Bus Rapid Transit, or getting smarter on appropriately pricing driving and parking. City and state agencies are working together on improvements like transit signal priority and accelerated bridge improvements. Transportation leaders are active in every community, and many never set foot in the State House. When we look to the future of transportation, we aren’t starting from square one, and we should build on best practices here and in other places – even in the face of attractive but untested technology options that promise to solve many of our problems.
-- We need to break down barriers and old thinking. People are going to more places in more ways than ever before, creating a need for new and creative partnerships with the public and private sectors, and at various levels of government. Some of this is due to new technology – e-scooters, TNCs, and autonomous vehicles are certainly testing the limits of state regulations and current street design. But larger forces are in play, such as the evolution away from the traditional 9-5 workday, which calls into question the current structure of our commuter rail system and the need for tolls to be a fixed price, all day every day. Future needs for transportation will be flexible, and our policies should be, too.
We’ll be drawing on these lessons in the year ahead as we advocate for better and smarter transportation policies statewide.
We are grateful to the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts for co-sponsoring the event with us, and to the members of the Commission, whose report includes a set of 18 recommendations and excellent set of background material.
Here are some social media posts from the event!