The Transportation and Climate Initiative is a collaboration of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia working to reduce pollution from transportation and invest in a modern, clean transportation future for the region.
In December 2018, nine TCI states and D.C. committed to design and create a market-based program over the course of 2019 to limit transportation pollution.
One approach under consideration is a “cap-and-invest” program, similar to a policy that is already cutting pollution in the power sector, boosting state investment in renewable energy, lowering utility bills, and creating jobs in the region. A transportation-focused program would create an enforceable and mandatory limit on transportation pollution, as well as generate funding that would be invested in clean transportation for residents of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
How would cap-and-invest work? First, the region would set a cap, or limit on pollution. The cap would decline each year in proportion to our region’s climate goals. Big polluters, such as oil companies, would be required to purchase allowances based on the pollution they cause from a limited pool made available under the cap.
Funds generated by the sale of allowances would then be invested in clean transportation solutions that cut pollution, reduce costs for consumers and expand mobility choices for all. Potential transportation solutions include expanded public transportation services; electrification of transit fleets; rebates to make electric vehicles affordable for all consumers; better pedestrian and bike infrastructure; improved resiliency of transportation infrastructure; and more affordable housing near transit.
If done right, a cap-and-invest program would complement other state and local initiatives to provide a world-class transportation network for the region.
If you are interested in learning more about "cap and invest" programs, check out this informative webinar put together by the Georgetown Climate Center.