OTF Newsletter

June 2019, Vol. 21

It’s True, Environmental and Business Groups are on the Same Page The Boston Globe, June 24, 2019. “Five Massachusetts-based business organizations are urging Gov. Charlie Baker to effectively address one of the Commonwealth’s most pressing environmental, economic and quality of life issues: transportation.  Ceres joined Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Environmental League of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Business Roundtable, and Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation in a letter to Gov. Baker calling on him to modernize and decarbonize the state’s transportation system. ‘“Our current infrastructure has a chokehold on our economy and our climate goals,” the letter states. “We feel a real urgency to create the transportation future that enables economic growth and substantial decarbonization. We want to help you get it done.”’

Vehicles are polluting Delaware, but we can do something about it. Delaware News Journal, June 28, 2019. (opinion)  “Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) is not a tax. It is a policy known as “cap-and-invest” to clean up and modernize transportation.  The policy would establish a total regional limit, or cap, on the amount of pollution from vehicle fuels, and this cap would decline over time, reducing more and more tailpipe pollution and making communities healthier… Using investments from a cap-and-invest plan to build modern infrastructure like electric vehicle charging stations and to incentivize EV sales is precisely what we need. As the growing number of EV owners in Delaware recognize, the long-term costs of driving an EV are significantly lower than for gas or diesel-powered vehicles, thanks to cheaper fueling and maintenance costs.  Battery prices are falling dramatically, enabling the driving range of EVs to expand. With a more robust charging network, EVs are quickly becoming practical for everyday use by the vast majority of Delaware drivers.”

African Americans in the north-east and mid-Atlantic are exposed to 61% more pollution particles from burning gasoline The Guardian, June 27, 2019.  “People of color in the American north-east and mid-Atlantic are living with 66% more air pollution from vehicles than white residents are, according to a new analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). On average, African Americans are exposed to 61% more of the tiny pollution particles that come from burning gasoline. Asian Americans breathe 73% more and Latinos 75% more. Millions more Americans breathing dirty air as planet warms, study finds.  The UCS, a research-focused advocacy organization, studied particulate matter pollution that is smaller than 2.5 micrometers, or a fraction of the width of a human hair. Called PM 2.5, the particles are minuscule enough to enter the bloodstream and are linked to lung and heart diseases, asthma and premature death. They can be made up of hundreds of different chemicals.”

Don’t hose commuters. Find a better way to fund NJ Transit, transportation group says The New Jersey Star-Ledger, June 12, 2019. “NJ Transit needs its own reliable, progressive funding sources, and those sources need to be protected from political machinations. No governor has taken strides in that direction, but ensuring NJ Transit has its own funding would mean that the agency can count on revenue to use for capital and operations and can budget accordingly. That means both launching long-delayed repair and expansion projects and being able to plan long-term with the confidence of multi-year budget security. After all, budgets grow: NJ Transit estimates a 5.6 percent increase in operations costs next year… With the transportation sector now the single largest contributor to climate change in the country, New Jersey is part of an emerging multi-state agreement to reduce transportation’s share of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Called the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), it would not only reduce pollution, it would also raise billions in new revenue across the multi-state region. Revenues from TCI should go directly to NJ Transit: the best way to create a virtuous cycle out of new money is to ensure it goes to improving transit, especially in low-income communities that rely on our buses and trains for access to good jobs and education.”

Md.’s Clean Energy, Transportation Bills Set Stage for Thriving, Low-Carbon Economy Maryland Matters, June 6, 2019. “This session, a bipartisan group of Maryland lawmakers approved two ambitious bills aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the impacts of climate change. These bills — the Clean Energy Jobs Act and the Regional Transportation and Climate Protection Act — would help to curb carbon emissions from Maryland’s power plants and transportation sector… The Regional Transportation and Climate Protection Act provides legal support to the governor for advancing the goals of the Transportation and Climate Initiative — a regional program to reduce climate pollution from the transportation sector.  Transportation is the largest source of emissions in Maryland and the U.S., outpacing pollution from power plants. This shift is partly the result of robust policies to expand renewable energy and energy efficiency, but we must do more in the transportation sector, where our policy framework is sorely lacking.  In 2018, the Hogan administration, along with eight other states and the District of Columbia, announced that they would spend the coming year developing a regional market-based policy to reduce emissions from transportation. No single state can tackle its transportation challenges alone but working together the region can foster economic growth and greater investment.”


Transportation and Climate Initiative 10: Hosted by Our Transportation Future June 21, 2019. OTF Webinar Event

The TCI-101 webinar features the basics on Transportation & Climate Initiative and its cap-and-invest framework, along with fresh perspective on policy developments, goals for implementation, and the broad based advocacy campaign by Our Transportation Future.  TCI-101 was presented by policy, public health and environmental experts, who mapped out the current state of the policy and how others can get involved to help shape the Transportation & Climate Initiative.

Inequitable Exposure to Air Pollution from Vehicles in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic (2019) June 27, 2019. Union of Concerned Scientists Report

In a new analysis, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) found that African American, Asian American and Latino residents of the region face significantly higher exposure to pollutants known as PM 2.5—airborne particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. The numbers show a clear pattern. On average, African American residents in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions are exposed to 61 percent more PM 2.5 pollution than white residents. Asian American residents are exposed to 73 percent higher levels, and Latino residents 75 percent higher levels, than white residents. Of the 72 million people in the region, almost one-fifth live in areas where PM 2.5 pollution levels are more than 50 percent higher than their state’s average—and 60 percent of those residents are people of color. Meanwhile, in areas where this pollution measures less than half  the state’s average, 85 percent of the population is white.

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