Climate change poses an immediate and growing threat to our environment, health, infrastructure, and economy. Transportation contributes over 40% of Massachusetts' greenhouse gas emissions, and is the largest source of air pollution of any sector of the state's economy. We must act aggressively to reform and revitalize our transportation sector to include both climate mitigation (reducing pollution from transportation) and climate adaptation (making our transportation system more resilient to a changing climate).
A key pathway for action is the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI).
What is the Transportation and Climate Initiative?
TCI is a forum of state governments in the northeast and mid-Atlantic that have agreed to work together to develop a regional approach to mitigating transportation emissions. Massachusetts joined TCI in 2010, and recommitted to exploring joint solutions with its fellow states in November, 2017. In 2018, Virginia announced support for the TCI Declaration of Intent and became the 13th state to formally join the collaboration.
Other States Involved:
The TCI states are focusing on a set of regional priorities to curb transportation emissions that include Clean Vehicles and Fuels, Regional Policies, Sustainable Communities, Freight Efficiency, and Information and Communication Technology.
Key Initiatives Under TCI:
Clean Vehicles and Fuels
The TCI states support the deployment of clean vehicles and fueling infrastructure to maximize the economic opportunities and emissions reductions that these vehicles bring to the region.
Massachusetts should create a "Mass Save for Vehicles", which could mirror the popular and successful Mass Save energy efficiency program. This program would provide rebates and incentives for electric vehicles for both personal ownership and businesses, while including options for different vehicle classes and different kinds of customer needs. Mass Save for Vehicles must ensure broad and tangible benefits for low-income residents and communities.
The TCI states have been working together since 2015 to explore regional policies to reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants from the transportation sector and improve transportation systems. They recognize that the region faces serious environmental and transportation challenges that can best be addressed by tapping into America's greatest strengths, including a skilled workforce, innovation, public-private partnerships, and the power of markets. For the past two years, states have been exploring policy approaches to create the clean transportation system that the region needs to meet today's and tomorrow's challenges.
To meet our transportation and environmental goals, we must move toward implementing a regional, market-based framework that generates proceeds for transportation revitalization.
What is Massachusetts' role in TCI?
The Baker Administration has acknowledged that pollution from transportation is a serious issue, and has asked for help in developing solutions.
- December 2017 Joint Op-Ed, Secretary Beaton and Secretary Pollack
- October 2017 Press Release on Transportation Sector Emissions Listening Sessions
Quotes from Baker Administration Officials (11/13/2017 press release):
What's Next and How to Get Involved:
T4MA believes Massachusetts should play a lead role in advancing TCI with the northeast and mid-Atlantic states. The Baker Administration, the legislature, the business community, advocacy groups, municipalities, community groups, and citizens all have a role to play in addressing the significant environmental impact of transportation.
To learn more about T4MA's work on Transportation and Climate, please contact Raylen Dziengelewski at [email protected].
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