OTF Newsletter

CLEAN TRANSPORTATION NEWS ROUND-UP

A Look at Headlines and Public Announcements on Efforts to Modernize and Share the Benefit of Cleaner Transportation


January 2019, Vol 15

Price Tag Proposed in US for Tailpipe CO2 Emissions Voice of America, January 9, 2019. “Nine states and the District of Columbia have announced plans to introduce a system that puts a price on the carbon dioxide produced from burning gasoline and diesel fuel. As the federal government pulls back from taking action on climate change, the proposal is an example of how states and cities are aiming to move forward.

Transportation and Climate Initiative would likely require fuel suppliers to pay for each ton of carbon dioxide that burning their products would produce. Costs would presumably be passed on to consumers. The announcement says revenues would go toward improving transportation infrastructure and low-emissions alternatives to cars, trucks and buses. The program could raise $1.5 billion to $6 billion per year, by one estimate.”

Op-Ed: New Jersey Can’t Afford to Miss Out on Benefits of Electric Vehicles New Jersey Spotlight, commentary,January 9, 2019. “It is widely understood that transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, responsible for nearly half of such pollutants — with three-quarters of that coming from the on-road use of gasoline, predominantly in cars. Last month, Gov. Phil Murphy pledged with eight other northeastern and Mid-Atlantic governors and the District of Columbia to develop a regional strategy to reduce transportation emissions, following the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) listening sessions. This follows earlier demonstrations that the Murphy administration is taking climate change seriously. Prudent and timely investments kick off dividends, and there is much to be gained back from the investments proposed in the bill. Not only will EV owners save in fuel (estimated 4 cents per mile versus 12 cents per gas-fueled mile) as well as lower repair costs; this important transition will also benefit every electric customer and society at large. This can easily be classified as a “win-win-win” for the state.”

As U.S. carbon emissions spike, Pa’s Gov. Wolf announces first statewide reduction plan Philadelphia Inquirer, January 8, 2019. “Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday (January 8, 2019) he has signed an executive order that sets the first statewide plan to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. The goal is to reduce overall energy consumption by 3 percent per year, ultimately by 21 percent by 2025 compared with 2017 levels. The executive order directs the state to replace 25 percent of its passenger car fleet with battery and plug-in electric hybrid cars by the same year, and buy enough renewable energy to offset 40 percent of the state’s electric use. “In the absence of leadership from the federal government, states and cities are stepping up and doing their part to reduce emissions,” Wolf said in a statement. “Today I am proud to declare the commonwealth’s intention to address climate change, the most critical environmental threat facing the world.””

U.S. States to Cap and Trade Transport Emissions Environmental News Service, January 8, 2019. “Over the past year, dozens of TCI state officials have held regional listening sessions with some 500 stakeholders to discuss low-carbon transportation goals, needs, and policy solutions. Stakeholders in the region have expressed strong interest in the potential for establishing a market-based policy to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. Public input and other expert policy analyses underscore the potential economic, environmental, and public health benefits of reinvesting the proceeds from such a program into more clean transportation options – public transit, transit-oriented development, zero-emission vehicles, innovative efficiency strategies, and other solutions that move people and goods more efficiently while generating less pollution.”

Coalition of states seeks to reduce transportation pollution Frederick News-Post, Maryland, December 26, 2019. “… The announcement is really exciting because it shows recognition of the need for a regional approach to solving the problem of carbon emissions, said David Smedick, campaign and policy director for the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club. Transportation is the largest producer of the region’s carbon pollution, and there’s a general consensus that we need to work across state lines to limit it, he said. “We really need new policy ideas” and new initiatives to help accomplish that, he said. The regional approach is somewhat new for transportation pollution in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, but in the mid-2000s there was a regional plan to lower greenhouse gas initiatives that created a steadily lowering cap for power plants that create a good model for the transportation initiative, Smedick said. The agreement will make sure that carbon reduction goals are met, while creating jobs and economic growth, as well as new markets for low carbon technology. It will also look to make sure that the benefits and challenges of the program are shared in a fair way across communities, and address the needs of people who have few alternatives to driving, and to create more transportation equity for underserved populations. As the agreement moves forward, the members will work together to create a regional policy that focuses on areas that need a consistent approach across boundaries; decide on the level at which emissions are capped; develop guidelines for monitoring and reporting emissions; develop ways to contain costs and keep compliance flexible; and find ways to encourage more transportation equity across areas.

Resources / Announcements

Investing in Modern Transportation: Benefits for Massachusetts Acadia Center, January, 2019:

  • “Massachusetts was a founding state of this regional cap-andinvest program, and through December of 2018 the state has received $512 million in RGGI proceeds for reinvestment in energy efficiency and clean energy projects. As of 2014, RGGI expenditures added $243 million to Massachusetts’ economy, created 2,718 job-years, and RGGI-driven reductions in pollution accounted for as much as $798 million in avoided health costs.”
  • “A similar regional cap-and-invest program applied to transportation emissions, like the one Massachusetts and other states have announced they will create, could fund transportation improvements, reduce pollution, improve public health, expand transportation access in underserved communities, and stimulate the economy. A cap-and invest policy for the transportation sector has already been implemented in California and Quebec, where carbon revenues are helping participating jurisdictions electrify transportation to cut emissions and deliver new means of mobility in transit deserts.
  • “To better understand the opportunity for Massachusetts to improve transportation and reduce pollution through a capand-invest program, Acadia Center analyzed the proceeds that could be generated by applying this type of program to Massachusetts’ transportation sector. To do this, transportation sector emissions were projected through 2030, and a starting carbon price of $15/ton was considered with a 7% escalation rate. Investment options for these funds and the economic benefits they could generate were then estimated using economic data from studies of transportation investments in the Northeast and the country.”

 


The “Clean Transportation News Round-up” is a monthly publication from Our Transportation Future (OTF), a coalition of local, regional and national organizations committed to modernizing transportation across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. OTF is working with business and governmental leaders to develop a 21st Century regional transportation system that is cleaner, offers more transportation options and serves the needs of everyone. For more information or to unsubscribe, contact:  pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com.