Equity, Health, and Climate Goals Are Central to TCI-P Finished Model Rule and Draft Framework for Public Engagement Released Today
WASHINGTON, DC – June 10, 2021 – The Our Transportation Future (OTF) coalition is incredibly encouraged by the Transportation & Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) implementation process outlined today as part of an overall initiative involving 12 jurisdictions. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and D.C. are the first to formally join the TCI Program to reduce harmful air pollution and modernize transportation in the Eastern U.S. Eight other states (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Virginia) are also continuing discussions about formally joining the program.
Drawing on hundreds of public comments and recommendations made since March 1st, the draft implementation plans show how participating jurisdictions intend to use funding from TCI-P for a wide variety of transportation needs, including addressing long-standing equity concerns.
Our Transportation Future is committed to ensuring that the cap-and-invest program benefits communities that are on the frontlines of massive proposed public transportation cuts, harmful air pollution, and devastating climate impacts; and to make sure that a significant portion of the funds allocated in the program reach these hardest hit communities. We are again calling on individual states to go above and beyond the minimum requirements of the regional agreement.
The implementation plans outlined today build on the March 2021 unveiling of the TCI-P draft model rule and the December 2020 commitment by Eastern states and D.C. for robust TCI-P funding support for equity concerns.
Our Transportation Future issued the following statement today:
“Today’s release of the draft implementation plans for the TCI Program means that this effort to modernize Eastern U.S. transportation is moving ahead as planned. This is key to reducing carbon pollution from the transportation sector as well as providing critical funding for 21st Century transportation that will improve our neighborhoods, public health, air quality, and commutes.
“For those of us who care so much about this issue, it is gratifying to see the outpouring of public support, which was overwhelmingly positive about TCI-P, and that the participating states recognize the need to take action. As noted in the joint public comments OTF members submitted, our organizations are committed to working with the states to realize an improved regional transportation system with upgraded mass transit, more electric buses, trucks, cars and charging infrastructure, walkable and bikeable communities, air quality monitoring, less congestion and pollution, and increased investments in projects that connect everyone, including those in both underserved urban and rural areas.
“We recognize that the implementation process will vary and the different states will employ a variety of approaches, including legislative approval, executive actions, and other policy steps. Just as transportation needs vary from state to state, and neighborhood to neighborhood, so too do we see a considerable range of ways that states will ensure the successful and equitable implementation of TCI-P. OTF looks forward to additional states in the region fully joining the program in the coming weeks and months.”
“Business leaders have championed TCI-P because it promises both to reduce pollution and improve a transportation system that too often slows and frustrates their workers, customers, and vendors,” said Alli Gold Roberts, director of state policy, Ceres. “Ceres looks forward to working with the business community and regional leaders to implement a suite of policies including TCI-P to build a more sustainable and equitable transportation system for all communities.”
Eleanor Fort, Deputy Director, Dream Corps Green For All, said: “States have not only developed a model rule to cap emissions and raise funds, they have also made robust efforts to develop a draft implementation plan to ensure an inclusive process and fair outcomes. This framework helps to ensure meaningful public engagement, decision-making power for communities at the table, creates specific guidelines for dedicated investments to overburdened and underserved communities, ensuring high quality jobs for those who face employment barriers, and expanded air quality monitoring. Only through fair and inclusive implementation can TCI-P ensure equitable outcomes for communities burdened by pollution and left stranded in our current transportation system. The long-awaited details in the implementation plan makes significant strides toward a more equitable TCI-P. We look forward to ensuring that the recommended implementation plans are codified in the program from the beginning as states seek to authorize and adopt the program.”
Mal Skowron, Green Energy Consumers Alliance said: “Rhode Island may be small, but the health and climate consequences of our fossil-fuel powered transportation system are not. We need every tool available to undo decades of pollution from cars, buses, and trucks that harm and underserve our communities. The model rule and implementation plan for TCI-P announced today will help to empower Rhode Island to move forward with enabling legislation and get first in line in the region to see the benefits of the program. The costs of inaction are mounting, so why wait?"
"We are confident that this final model rule and implementation plan gives the states in the TCI-P region the information they need to pursue this program within their own frameworks," said Lauren Bailey, Director of Climate Policy, Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "It is up to the individual states to address the inequities in their transportation system and we look forward to ongoing conversations about how best to reduce vehicle emissions in the communities that have borne the brunt of the harm from this system for too long."
"Creating a more vibrant, sustainable economy depends upon transitioning to a more equitable, low carbon mobility system" said Richard Lawton, Executive Director of the NJ Sustainable Business Council. "A growing list of companies already support TCI-P and are steering investment and innovation toward actualizing its goals. Finalizing the model rule represents an additional and important signal to those companies and policy makers who still underestimate the growing opportunity costs of maintaining "business as usual" and the upside potential of a decarbonized economy."
Save the Sound Climate and Energy Attorney Charles Rothenberger said: “The transportation sector accounts for nearly 40% of Connecticut’s carbon emissions. We need meaningful solutions to reduce these emissions and to combat the climate crisis while also protecting the health and well-being of our residents. Those solutions should include prioritization of investments in communities overburdened by transportation pollution and which have traditionally been underserved by transportation investments. Today’s announcement of the TCI Model Rule is one more example of the growing regional collaboration in support of a clean transportation future."
“This is a major milestone in the TCI process,” said Matt Casale, PIRG environment campaigns director. “As the states move into the implementation period, we look forward to working together to move us toward a cleaner, healthier and better working transportation network in the region.”
"Governor Murphy has set a high bar for New Jersey to reduce economy-wide emissions by 80%. In order for a state like New Jersey to meet these ambitious goals, we need to take a deep hard look at our transportation sector and how we get around our communities and state," said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. "We can tailor TCI to meet our state's transportation needs to make investments that not only decarbonize and reduce asthma-inducing air pollution, but also set our economy up for success. We are pleased with the recent steps to advance TCI and encourage New Jersey to prioritize solutions benefiting the most vulnerable in our communities of color that have historically and unjustly borne the disproportionate burden of pollution. It does not have to be an either-or decision. We can improve quality of life, reduce air pollution, and fund our transportation system.”
Recent polling found that seven in 10 East Coast voters support the program as a way to create good-paying jobs and rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The TCI program is expected to save residents of participating states up to $13.5 billion in avoided health costs over the course of the program’s implementation, according to modeling by the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health.
Alex Frank, (703) 276-3264, [email protected].
Our Transportation Future is a coalition of 77 local, regional, and national organizations committed to modernizing transportation in the Eastern U.S. 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, Alliance for Business Leadership, Appalachian Mountain Club, Center for Sustainable Energy, Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, Ceres, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Chispa Maryland, Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, Climate Group, Climate Law and Policy Project, Climate XChange, Connecticut Fund for the Environment / Save the Sound, Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, ConnPIRG, East Coast Greenway Alliance, Energize Maryland, 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 League of 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, New Yorkers for Clean Power, NHPIRG, NJPIRG, Northeast Clean Energy Council, PennEnvironment, Philadelphia Solar Energy Association, Rail Passengers Association, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Save the Sound, Southern Environmental Law Center, 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.