OTF Newsletter

April 2020, Vol 30

Could Coronavirus Spur Massachusetts To Transform Its Transportation System? WGBH Public Radio/Boston, MAApril 28, 2020. Bob Seay: “In the past, she said, federal policy has been all about moving as many people as quickly as possible, and that's why federal transportation policy has historically favored building highways. About 80 percent of federal dollars has gone to new highway construction, while only 20 percent has been spent on public transit."

Our air is making us sick. The answer is to make polluters pay. NJ.com/Newark, NJ (opinion), April 8, 2020. Ed Potosnak: “For too long, NJ Transit has failed to get people where they want to go – when they want to get there due to a lack of funding, mismanagement, and a steady decrease in engineers and staff under the Christie Administration. These problems in the nation’s third-largest public transportation system led to a disconcerting pattern of unreliability -- with delays and cancellations being all too commonplace."

In Chelsea, the deadly consequences of air pollution The Boston Globe/Boston, MAApril 29, 2020. Yvonne Abraham: “The conditions that make folks in Chelsea more vulnerable to COVID-19 also leave them more susceptible to the impacts of climate change: Surviving heat waves, food shortages, flooding, and virulent diseases requires resources too few of them have. It’s time the rest of us got more serious about changing that. They’ve suffered enough."  

Transportation and Climate Initiative moves ahead amid pandemic uncertainty Energy News NetworkApril 9, 2020. Lisa Prevost: “The draft modeling predicted the program would result in an average of 10,000 new jobs per year at a 25% reduction cap. 'I think that wasn’t getting the attention that it’s going to get now,' Cherolis said. 'You can already kind of see it at the federal level where they’re talking about a $2 trillion infrastructure program. The opportunity in this crisis will be in building a sustainable and resilient infrastructure that doesn’t just put people back to work but builds a transportation system that doesn’t grease the skids to climate catastrophe.'"

Coronavirus Got Rid of Smog. Can Electric Cars Do So Permanently? Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2020. Dan Neil: “VW Group is all-in. The company has committed $50 billion to electrification, including new vehicle platforms and battery factories, like the one under construction in Tennessee. Meanwhile, technical development of IC platforms and powertrains has all but stopped. What you are seeing on dealer lots now is effectively obsolete. With the bottom falling out of the market, legacy car makers don’t need help defending the rump of a failing business model. They need help selling EVs."

State Official Says Mass. Climate Goals Remain On Schedule Despite Pandemic WBUR Public Radio/Boston, MAApril 22, 2020. Bruce Gellerman: “'The investments we’re thinking about making in TCI reduce the impacts of climate change but also really improve the air from a public health standpoint,' Theoharides says. She adds that TCI could raise billions of dollars to fund clean energy projects and jump start the economy. 'I think there’s a real role for stimulating the economy with things that also benefit the climate and protect our health,' she says." 

Emissions Drop Nearly 40% During COVID-19 Pandemic CT News Junkie/Connecticut. April 20, 2020. Christine Stuart: “Jordan Stutt, carbon programs director for the Acadia Center, an environmental advocacy group, said this pandemic is in 'no way a silver lining.' He said clean air is great, but we shouldn’t be dependent on an economic shutdown for people in Hartford, New London, New Haven, and Bridgeport to breathe clean air."

For more news, editorials and op-eds, click here.



Resources & Announcements

That's Green Right There Center for Latino Progress, April 28, 2020. Tang Sauce: A local Hartford, CT artist freestyles for Earth Month, calling for a "greener" transportation sector.

How Do We Keep Pollution Reductions After This Crisis? Invest in Climate and Public Health Climate Xchange, April 17, 2020. Ruby Wincele: “What happens after the shutdowns are over and economies reopen, though? Lowered emissions are not expected to be a long-term trend, and it is predicted that the current drop will be offset by an equivalent increase — bringing emissions back to business as usual by as early as 2021, assuming a quick public health and economic recovery. So, are government-issued stay-at-home orders and economic shutdowns the only way we can see drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants? The short answer is no, but it will require swift and broad policy that directs investments into public transportation, while enabling a transition to a sustainable future that protects public health..."

Numbers that Take Your Breath Away: COVID-19, Air Pollution, and Equity Union of Concerned Scientists, April 28, 2020. Maria Cecilia Pinto De Moura: “We cannot stop the emergence of new microorganisms. However, we can limit the severity of future outbreaks of deadly diseases, and we can reduce and eventually eliminate the disproportionate impact of these diseases on people of color, by building a robust health system for all, strengthening and enforcing air pollution regulations and supporting science and scientists."

 Upcoming Event:

The Transportation & Climate Initiative - Help Lower Transportation Pollution Across AMC'S Region Appalachian Mountain Club12 p.m. ET May 6, 2020 - “Join AMC Air Quality Scientist, Georgia Murray, and NRDC Climate and Clean Energy Senior Advocate, Bruce Ho, to learn about the Transportation & Climate Initiative, what it could mean for AMC's region, and how to get involved."



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