OTF Newsletter

August 2019, Vol. 23

Maine launches rebate program for hybrid, electric vehicles, Portland Press Herald, August 30, 2019. “A $5.1 million legal settlement won by Maine against German automaker Volkswagen Group and its affiliates is being used to fund a new statewide rebate program for buyers of hybrid and electric vehicles.  The program, announced Friday by Gov. Janet Mills, will provide rebates of $1,000 to $2,000 on qualifying plug-in hybrid and battery-powered electric vehicles, with higher rebates being offered to low-income households and government entities, including tribal governments. The initiative is called the EV Accelerator Program and is being administered by the quasi-state agency Efficiency Maine Trust.  According to the National Resources Council of Maine, the new rebate can be combined with federal incentives to provide a total of up to $9,500 off the price of a plug-in vehicle in Maine. It said states offering financial incentives have experienced 15 to 25 percent higher sales of plug-in vehicles compared with the national average.

New Transportation Policy Big Win for Connecticut, Public News Service Connecticut, August 30, 2019. “A new analysis says Connecticut could see major gains from a new approach to transportation. The report from the Acadia Center shows that a well-designed transportation cap-and-invest policy could help the state put more than $2.7 billion into clean transportation by 2030, generating more than 23,000 jobs and $7 billion in economic activity. Like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that generates funds to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) would auction pollution credits linked to wholesale transportation fuels. According to Amy McLean Salls, the Acadia Center's Connecticut director, transportation accounts for 40% of the state's greenhouse gas emissions.  "By reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and putting money into clean transportation infrastructure, we would be addressing some of the most egregious problems regarding greenhouse gas emissions which have to be reduced for the state to meet its climate goals," she states.

Massachusetts bill aims to reduce traffic congestion, but will it help climate?, Energy News Network, August 16, 2019. “The bill also makes a reference to an ongoing effort by nine Northeast states and Washington, D.C. to create a regional cap-and-trade system for lowering transportation emissions, a program referred to as the Transportation and Climate Initiative, or TCI. The legislation would authorize up to half of Massachusetts’ share of the revenue from any such collaboration to be used to support public transit investments that would yet further reduce carbon emissions.  ‘I am happy to see that language in there,’ said Daniel Gatti, senior transportation analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “’It does show the extent to which TCI has become a central part of the way the Baker administration is thinking about transportation.’”

Driving Towards Zero Carbon Emissions, Bangor Daily News (Opinion Editorial), August 15, 2019. “state. “Gov. Janet Mills is taking decisive steps to curb transportation emissions in our state. As attorney general she helped secure $5.1 million for Maine in a settlement from Volkswagen, which is being put toward expanding electric vehicle programs. Half of the money will be used to create a financial incentive program for low-income and elderly Mainers and Mainers with disabilities who purchase electric vehicles. The other half will be used for a program allowing qualifying vehicles bought by Maine residents and business owners to receive a rebate; this program has been projected to double the number of electric vehicles on Maine’s roads.  Efficiency Maine, which is working on these programs, is also developing a network of fast-charging stations. These will deliver a range of 250 miles per hour of charging and are in production along Interstate 95 and north-south routes to Quebec. There are also several charging stations planned for some public properties, workplaces, and multi-unit residences, meaning that more Mainers will be able to charge where they park.  The pièce de résistance, thanks to Mills, is that Maine will soon be powering its electric vehicles with renewable energy instead of fossil fuels; the governor signed a bill into law this past June that sets a goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.  Maine is also making progress in conjunction with other states as a part of the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a regional collaboration of 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states focused on improving transportation and reducing transportation-related carbon emissions. The initiative has many efforts in progress to reduce transportation emissions, such as its December 2018 decision to create a market-based “cap and invest” program for transportation.”

Massachusetts residents can take part in Transportation, Climate Initiative (Guest viewpoint), Springfield Republican / MassLive.com (Opinion Editorial), August 6, 2019. “The majority of voters in Massachusetts understand that a modernized transportation system would mean cleaner air and better health for everyone. Much has been accomplished to reduce air pollution from coal-fired power plants. Now, tackling transportation emissions is the next big hurdle. Doing so would save thousands of lives, reduce hospital ER admissions, asthma attacks suffered by children, and dangers posed to the health of those pregnant.  Residents who support these efforts or who simply want to learn more about it can get involved in the process directly over the next few weeks.  Massachusetts is hosting a series of community input workshops around TCI in Springfield, Chelsea and Fall River between August 7-22. Local residents can join these sessions to learn more about how Massachusetts is working with other states to develop a regional policy to reduce transportation emissions and deliver a cleaner, climate resilient transportation system that benefits all our communities.”

Mid-Atlantic, northeast states partner to clean air, improve transportation, battle climate change, ScienceBlog.com / Air Quality Matters, August 5, 2019. “If the TCI movement is successful and gains significant traction and programs on the ground actually get followed through on, both air and transportation in the northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions will be much improved.  The TCI program can only grow out from there. The implications could be far-reaching.”

Resources & Announcements

Investing in Connecticut’s Transportation Future, Acadia Center Report, August 16, 2019. “This Acadia Center analysis illustrates the benefits of a new approach for Connecticut to reduce transportation pollution while improving the system to better meet its residents’ needs. The analysis shows that, if designed well, a regional cap-and-invest policy developed through the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) could enable the state to make over $2.7 billion in crucial transportation investments by 2030, which would generate over 23,000 long-term jobs and $7 billion in economic activity.

TCI Webinar: Reference Case Results, Georgetown Climate Center, August 8, 2019. “The Transportation and Climate Initiative hosted a webinar during which the TCI states shared updates and invited further input from stakeholders to inform the design of a proposed regional cap-and-invest program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation. This interactive presentation reviewed:

  • Updates on the TCI modeling run, the first step of the modeling process;
  • Public input received following a previous TCI webinar on reference case assumptions; and
  • Final inputs and assumptions that were used to run the reference case.

Stakeholders were invited to join to learn more about this completed analysis, ask questions, and offer suggestions for TCI states to consider during the subsequent stages of modeling, including modeling runs that will simulate regional GHG cap levels and other potential program design elements.

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