OTF Newsletter

July 2019, Vol. 22

Coalition of 59 groups backs Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Governors for developing transportation & climate initiative, American Journal of Transportation (AJOT), July 30, 2019. “Members of Our Transportation Future joined 300 state lawmakers, business leaders, transportation experts, and public figures in Baltimore, Maryland, today at a regional public workshop on developing low-carbon investment strategies and priorities for the Transportation & Climate Initiative, a regional partnership for clean transportation in Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. The OTF groups participating in today’s workshop announced a sign-on letter to the Governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia, and the mayor of Washington, D.C.  An excerpt of the OTF letter said:  “We commend your leadership on TCI and support your efforts to develop a regional agreement to reduce transportation emissions. Transportation is the largest source of climate-changing pollution in the U.S., and a significant cause of unhealthy air that increases asthma attacks, cardiovascular problems, and respiratory illnesses. Driving represents over eighty percent of emissions from transportation and those emissions are growing despite cleaner fuels and more efficient vehicles because people are forced to make more frequent and longer trips. In addition to continuing to improve vehicle efficiency and increase electrification, we also need to make it easier for people to drive less by increasing clean, reliable and safe public transportation, and encouraging walking and biking. We believe an equitable and environmentally robust policy, designed through TCI, will be an important component of our shared vision…”

Massachusetts Governor Baker Remarks on Transportation Bond Bill, Commonwealth Magazine, July 25, 2019. ““Our work to reduce emissions and invest in clean technology to protect the environment will continue to be critical in guiding investments and planning.  To assist in this effort, today we are introducing a new authorization to provide additional funding to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.  This bill will provide the MBTA with an innovative, ongoing source of future support by dedicating up to half of the revenue generated by the Transportation and Climate Initiative – which is currently under development with other Northeast states – to public transit.  These funds will be used to support investments that boost transit ridership and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.  The implementation of this initiative will lead to additional future revenues for investments in transportation infrastructure beyond those included in the bill.””

Planes, Trains and (Big) Automobiles: How Heavy Transport Can Reduce Emissions and Save Money, TheCityFix.com, July 19, 2019. “Heavy duty transportation – freight trucking, shipping and aviation – accounts for approximately 13% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Although the sector has long been a major challenge to clean up – especially as demand for transporting goods increases – research shows it can now reach net-zero emissions as soon as 2050. Remarkably, getting to zero doesn’t need to cost much, either given recent progress in clean technologies. The same research shows that decarbonizing heavy transport, along with heavy industry (cement, steel and plastics) would cost less than 0.5% of global GDP by mid-century.”

Cap and trade for cars? 'It gets pretty complicated', E&E News, July 10, 2019. “"There's been a successful effort to reduce electric-sector emissions. And now the states have an opportunity to pivot and really focus on the largest source of CO2 emissions in the country," said Jordan Stutt, director of carbon programs at the Acadia Center, a Boston-based environmental group.  "Frankly, the science is making it all the more clear that we need to act quickly on this," Stutt said. "So even though the transportation sector is notoriously difficult to clean up, that's no longer a good enough excuse."  RGGI works by setting a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. The cap gets lower and lower each year, meaning that less and less pollution is allowed. Facilities must purchase "allowances" at auctions for each ton of pollution they emit. Proceeds from the auctions go toward state projects that further reduce emissions or provide other benefits to households and communities.  Since RGGI's inception in 2009, power-sector emissions in the Northeast have dropped 40%, propelled by the program as well as market forces. The new effort, known as the Transportation and Climate Initiative, could slash transportation-sector emissions between 29% to 40% by 2030, according to a report by the Georgetown Climate Center.

Air Pollution vs. People of Color, By Special to the AFRO, July 5, 2019. “The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) have released a new study that highlights the disproportionately detrimental implications of air pollution on Asian American, Latino and African Americans in the District of Columbia. The UCS Air Quality Report looks at the alarmingly high exposure of PM2.5, a dangerous air pollutant.  PM2.5 is an air pollutant that is about 2.5 microns or less. The pollutant can be emitted into the air through the burning of both diesel and gasoline fuel. Due to its size, PM2.5 can spread rapidly and easily into one’s bloodstreams and can cause short term effects including irritation, sneezing, coughing and trouble breathing. The air pollutant is also known to put people in jeopardy of long term health effects including respiratory and cardiovascular issues, some of which have resulted in hospitalization and deaths. Children, the elderly and people with a history of respiratory and heart problems are at higher risk if exposed to PM2.5.”


Our Transportation Future Coalition Sends Supportive Letter to Transportation and Climate Initiative Governors (Sign-on Letter, Our Transportation future), July 30, 2019. “Our Transportation Future (OTF) sent a letter of support to the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) Governors, with 59 members of OTF signing on. OTF's priorities for a regional TCI policy include an agreement that the participating states will:

·         Promote more equitable outcomes, particularly for populations and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by air pollution and those with inadequate access to transportation and mobility.

·         Reduce vehicle pollution that contributes to unhealthy air quality and climate change;

·         Leverage transportation networks to create new economic opportunity for people, businesses, and communities;

·         Establish new -- and enhance existing -- sources of funding to accelerate investments in bikeways, pedestrian walkways, electric vehicle infrastructure, and improved public transit, including intercity rail; and

·         Foster policies that support sustainable, affordable, transit-oriented development and other land use decisions that reduce vehicle miles traveled."

Want to Clean up Transportation? Come to Baltimore (NRDC Blog, Bruce Ho), July 29, 2019. “Through a series of public listening sessions held across the region last year, the TCI states—Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia—and D.C. heard these concerns, and now, they’re working to address them.  At the Baltimore workshop, held on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, the TCI states will present their current thinking on how best to invest in clean and modern transportation solutions in urban, suburban, and rural communities across the region; hear ideas from experts in the field; and solicit public input.”



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