OTF News Releases

ADVOCATES AND EXPERTS URGE STRONG ACTION BY STATES AFTER RELEASE OF DRAFT AGREEMENT ON TRANSPORTATION MODERNIZATION

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WASHINGTON, DC – December 17, 2019 –  A draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) released today by Northeast states and Washington, D.C. for cleaner regional transportation is an important first step that will require states to uphold the highest possible standard, according to local regional, and national advocates and other experts who held a press call today to outline the implications of the Transportation and Climate Initiative’s draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and related impact modeling.

In October, 12 states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia) and the District of Columbia committed to release a draft MOU by the end of December 2019 for a regional policy to clean up and modernize transportation through a cap-and-invest approach. The draft Memorandum of Understanding was accompanied by modeling results that estimate the energy and emissions implications of different cap levels and investment scenarios, as well as potential benefits of different program design options.

An improved transportation system would mean more clean cars and trucks, reliable mass transit, walkable and bikeable communities, less climate pollution, and investments that connect everyone, including those in underserved and rural areas.

Comments from local, regional and national experts included the following:

"As advocates for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, we are excited that TCI is moving forward. We will continue to be part of conversations around strong investments in transit, clean air for environmental justice communities, and infrastructure to support walking and biking. TCI gives the whole region the opportunity to create unprecedented investments and we look forward to all the good it will do.” -- Lauren Bailey, director of climate policy, Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

"TCI is an innovative, bipartisan, regional solution that will address multiple challenges. We applaud Governor Baker’s leadership in advancing this important public policy initiative that will improve the lives of people in every corner of the Commonwealth who use our transportation system, breath the air, or care about climate change. This agreement will stand as a model for the rest of the nation." -- Chris Dempsey, director, Transportation for Massachusetts.

“TCI offers the most promising opportunity we have to tackle the dangerously rising emissions from our carbon-intensive transportation sector,” said Johanna Miller, Energy and Climate Program Director at the Vermont Natural Resources Council. “It’s essential that Vermont joins other states in making this collaborative commitment, participating in and working to strengthen the program to create a 21st transportation system that serves all Vermonters – in particular low-income and rural Vermonters – with less polluting, affordable transportation options.” – Vermont Natural Resources Council.

"A sustainable future and improved public health require tackling tailpipe emissions, the largest source of air pollution and carbon emissions in Massachusetts. The League of Women Voters supports a robust and equitable Transportation & Climate Initiative plan and thanks Governor Baker for his leadership on this issue." – League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.

“With the disappointing international climate talks last week and the lack of federal leadership, it is all the more important that states make urgent progress on reducing climate-warming pollution. The proposed agreement released by the Northeast and MidAtlantic states today caps transportation pollution and starts reducing the impact from cars, trucks, and buses in our cities and towns.  We applaud the states for their collaboration and urge them to adopt the most ambitious targets and timeline going forward.” –Nancy Goodman, vice president for policy, Environmental League of Massachusetts.

"While we're glad that Maryland and other TCI states are moving in this direction, today they announced an emissions reduction target of just 25 percent by 2032, well short of the 45 percent that is needed. We ran out of time for half-solutions to the climate crisis long ago. If the Hogan Administration wants to truly walk the walk on climate, they need to work with other states to reach a stronger commitment." -- Steven Hershkowitz, Maryland director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

“Getting around a state as large as Maine can be more difficult than it needs, leaving people feeling stuck without good choices. TCI is our region’s best opportunity to give people a wider range of options that are more affordable, reliable, and reduce pollution. By actively participating in TCI, Maine can ensure solutions like clean cars and trucks, expanded transit, safer bike and pedestrian infrastructure, meet the needs of both rural and urban populations.” -- Sue Ely, clean energy policy advocate & staff attorney, Natural Resources Council of Maine.

“A Transportation and Climate Initiative with aggressive goals is critical for Connecticut to meet our mandated 2030 state level greenhouse gas emission reduction goal.  We all benefit from reduced pollution and a survivable planet.  Sustainable, equitable transportation systems must be the future and will be the cornerstone of the region’s green economy, starting right now at this zero hour.” -- Anthony Cherolis, transport Hartford coordinator, Transport Hartford Academy at the Center for Latino Progress.

“At a time when the climate crisis is more urgent than ever, the Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states are rising to the challenge. If the states proceed with these policies, they’ll significantly reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector, the largest source of carbon emissions in the region, improve public health and make transportation cleaner, more affordable and more reliable. Today’s memorandum of understanding offers us a path forward, putting a program in place that states can continue to review and build on.” --Kenneth Kimmell, president, Union of Concerned Scientists.

“A dozen eastern states and the city of Washington, D.C. are taking a huge step forward in fixing our region's broken transportation system. They foresee making much-needed investments so the region's communities will become more prosperous and livable, cleaner and healthier. They plan to upgrade the transportation system to be less polluting, and more efficient and affordable for millions of people. This is visionary.” - Bruce Ho, senior advocate, Climate & Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council.

"In the face of the Trump Administration’s disastrous attempts to pump the brakes on cleaning up transportation across the nation, we applaud these states for working together on a regional approach to reduce transportation emissions and invest in solutions to move us away from our outdated, dirty, health-harming status quo. We urge the states to finalize limits that are actually consistent with their climate commitments, and invest in and with communities most over-burdened and under-resourced." -- Mark Kresowik, eastern region deputy director, Sierra Club.

“Major investors and companies across the region are committed to reducing emissions from the transportation sector. The TCI jurisdictions have put forth a policy proposal that responds to this need and seeks to create a cleaner, more equitable and efficient transportation system. Collective action across the region has the potential to drive new economic growth, while reducing emissions from the most polluting sector of our economy. As we head into the new year, Ceres remains committed to working with the business community to ensure the region advances a market-based proposal to tackle the transportation emissions.” -- Alli Gold Roberts, director, state policy, at Ceres. 

"People are fed up with the way transportation is working -- or isn’t working -- for them across the region. They want modern, reliable, affordable and clean options to get where they need to go and they want our leaders to do something about climate change. TCI will be an important tool to both reduce global warming emissions from the largest source in the region and help give people better transportation options." -- Matt Casale, transportation campaign director, U.S. PIRG.

“The multi-state agreement is a major opportunity to cut pollution and boost investment in new transportation technology, fuels, and infrastructure, while creating and securing good jobs. Putting workers and communities front and center as cleaner transportation is planned and implemented will be key to ensuring the program meets its emissions goals while strengthening communities, helping rebuild American manufacturing, and boosting family supporting jobs.” --Zoe Lipman, director of vehicles and advanced transportation, BlueGreen Alliance.

“TCI will help all of us and our goods get from Point A to Point B better. Tax dollars fund roads and part of transit in Massachusetts transportation. Employers and commuters pay for fuel and vehicles in the $64b vehicle economy. including $4.6b for congestion. Time to invest in safe, healthier and modern transportation today for a thriving economy tomorrow. Let’s move forward.” Sarah Simon, New England chapter director, Environmental Entrepreneurs.

"It's a work in progress. States are still figuring out how to design this program in a way that meets the needs of the region's disproportionately impacted communities. That's why Green For All delivered a robust toolkit to states last week with detailed recommendations for how to do this right." -- Michelle Romero, national director, Green For All.

“The state agreement moves us toward greater regional collaboration on the climate crisis.” said Amy Laura Cahn, Director of Conservation Law Foundation’s Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice program. “Urgent and bold action is necessary to tackle the scourge of carbon emissions and jumpstart clean transportation options for New Englanders. And we need solutions that immediately focus on improving air quality for residents in pollution hotspots.” – Conservation Law Foundation.

“Investment in better transportation options while reducing tailpipe pollution is a winning combination. Acadia Center applauds the TCI jurisdictions for developing this program, and we call on every participating Governor to ensure that the program is both robust and equitable; the program’s success will be determined by their ambition.” -- Jordan Stutt, carbon programs director, Acadia Center.

“Pollution from the transportation sector has a profound impact on both acute and chronic health outcomes. Populations at increased risk from death and disease such as communities of color, the elderly, and young children already bear a disproportionate burden from these emissions and they are the least able to prepare for the effects of a changing climate. The proposed enhancements to our transportation systems can improve the health of our communities while reducing the cost of health care delivery. We at Health Care Without Harm endorse this proposal and urge the participating jurisdictions to maximize health benefits by establishing the most ambitious cap possible.” – Health Care Without Harm.

"Clean Air Council is pleased by the release of the draft MOU and believes adopting it can help meet Pennsylvania's greenhouse gas reduction goals. This policy is an important step, combined with Pennsylvania’s decision to join RGGI and reduce emissions from the natural gas industry. To be successful, this program must invest in public transportation, biking, and walking, particularly in communities that have been historically overburdened by transportation pollution." -- Joseph Otis Minott, executive director and chief counsel, Clean Air Council.

“Our state, regional and local governments can take swift action through TCI to fund transit, affordable fares, transit-oriented development, and affordable housing near transit to maximize reduction in greenhouse gas emissions AND achieve social equity goals for affordable housing and transportation, and improved access to opportunity.” – Coalition for Smarter Growth.

“Climate XChange believes that the severity of the climate crisis necessitates swift action and bold leadership in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The states need a plan to achieve a 40% to 45% reduction in transportation emissions by 2032 -- putting us on a path to achieve an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. We look forward to the following discussions on how TCI, along with complementary policies, can be finalized to maximize impact and equity.” -- Jonah Kurman-Faber, senior research associate, Climate Xchange.

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Our Transportation Future is a coalition of local, regional, and national organizations committed to modernizing transportation across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. OTF is focused on improving our transportation system -- the ways we move people and goods in the region – to spur economic growth, make us healthier and safer, clean up the environment, and improve our quality of life.

OTF members include:  A Better City, Acadia Center, Appalachian Mountain Club, Center for Sustainable Energy, Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, Ceres, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, Climate Law and Policy Project, Climate XChange, Connecticut Fund for the Environment / Save the Sound, Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, ConnPIRG, Conservation Law Foundation, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), Energize Maryland, Environment America, Environment Connecticut, Environment Massachusetts, Environment Maryland, Environment Maine, Environment New Hampshire, Environment New Jersey, Environment New York, Environment Rhode Island, Environment Virginia, Environmental Advocates of New York, Environmental League of Massachusetts, Greater Prince William Climate Action Network, Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Green For All, Health Care Without Harm, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, Maine Conservation Voters, Maryland PIRG, Massachusetts Climate Action Network, Massachusetts Public Health Association, MassINC Gateway Cities Innovation Institute, MassPIRG, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), The Nature Conservancy, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, New Jersey Sustainable Business Council, New York League of Conservation Voters, NJPIRG, Northeast Clean Energy Council, PennEnvironment, Philadelphia Solar Energy Association, Rail Passengers Association, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Sierra Club, Transport Hartford Academy at the Center for Latino Progress, Transportation for America, Transportation for Massachusetts, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Union of Concerned Scientists, U.S. PIRG, Vermont Conservation Voters, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Vermont Natural Resources Council, and 350 MASS for A Better Future.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Alex Frank, 703.276.3264, afrank@hastingsgroup.com.


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