OTF Newsletter

March 2020, Vol 29

Transportation & Climate Initiative sees 'overwhelming support' of cap-and-invest plan Smart Cities Dive, March 2, 2020. Katie Pyzyk and Kristin Musulin: “From mid-December through February, members of the public were asked to submit comments of support or opposition regarding a draft policy from the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI). More than 8,300 comments were submitted in the 10-week period, with 91% of those comments showing support of the policy, according to the Our Transportation Future (OTF) coalition. The comment portal was organized by the Georgetown Climate Center and brought in submissions from residents in 12 states and the District of Columbia. OTF, a coalition committed to modernizing transportation in these Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, reviewed the comments in the portal."

Coalition Calls for Carbon Cap-and-Trade Program Across Northeast, Mid-Atlantic NJ Spotlight, March 13, 2020. Tom Johnson: “'It is time across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic for the region’s governors to adopt a cap-and-trade program to reduce global warming pollution from vehicles, according to a coalition of investors, trade groups and nonprofit organizations. In a letter to 12 governors, the more than 100 signatories called a proposal by the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) a 'once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernize and decarbonize our region’s transportation system.' ... Under the program, TCI would establish a regional cap on carbon emissions while auctioning emissions allowances. Proceeds from the allowance sales would be sent back to states and used to pay for electric vehicle incentives, public transit and rural broadband to support telecommuting. In the letter, the signatories said 'the existing transportation system has a chokehold on our economy and our climate goals. We feel an urgency to create a transportation future that enables economic growth and substantial decarbonization.’"

Virginians deserve better and cleaner transportation options Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch (Opinion), March 22, 2020. Kelsey Crane: “Virginia’s transportation system is in need of serious improvements. Continuing with the status quo of perpetual highway expansion is outdated and isn’t meeting the needs or serving the best interests of our communities. Instead, it’s hurting our environment, health and wallets. Burning motor fuels produces almost half (45%) of the climate pollution in the commonwealth, and that tailpipe pollution also contributes to an influx of health problems and hospital visits that burden Virginians with health care costs."

Sitting in traffic costs D.C.-area residents an average of $1,761 per year, study finds Washington Post, March 9, 2020. Lori Aratani: “Even so, the 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard released today by traffic analytics firm INRIX found that commuters spend an average of 99 hours sitting in traffic at a cost of $88 billion, or an average $1,377 per person. What’s more, sitting in traffic costs Washington area residents an average of more than $1,700 a year. Boston, where commuters lose 149 hours a year sitting in traffic, was the most congested city for the second year in a row, followed by Chicago (145 hours), Philadelphia (142 hours), New York City (140) and Washington (124 hours)."  

BP America: N.J. lawmakers can lead the way to a cleaner climate Newark (New Jersey) Star Ledger (Opinion), March 7, 2020. Susan Dio: “The proposal follows a model used in power markets known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which New Jersey has taken steps to rejoin. This highly successful policy program helped the Garden State and others reduce emissions from the power sector across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Since 2008, power sector emissions have plummeted in the states belonging to RGGI at a rate almost double the rest of the U.S. Critically, GDP in these states outpaced growth elsewhere by 31% over the same decade, proving states don’t have to choose between the economy or the environment."  

Improve public transportation access Newsday/Long Island (New York) (Opinion), March 20, 2020. Beth Jane Freeman: “The Transportation and Climate Initiative — which seeks to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions — aims to cut pollution, create jobs, boost local economies, improve transportation access and equity, and enhance public health. We need better public transportation access. In Nassau County, public transportation is often very poor unless you are going to a shopping center or mall. If we could expand access and use buses that run on nonpolluting energy, like electricity, we could have improved public transportation and less pollution." 

For more news, editorials and op-eds, click here.


Resources & Announcements

Investors and companies urge states to adopt Transportation and Climate Initiative, a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ Ceres, March 12, 2020. Press Release: “A diverse group of investors, companies, trade associations, institutions, and organizations across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are urging the region’s governors today to band together and create a clean transportation future that enables economic growth. In a letter sent to the participating leaders, more than 100 signatories — including Akamai, DSM, Eversource Energy, Novartis and State Street—called the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernize and decarbonize our region’s transportation system” and emphasized how TCI will help to achieve several of their shared goals..."

The Congestion Con Transportation for America, March 5, 2020. “In an expensive effort to curb congestion in urban regions, we have overwhelmingly prioritized one strategy: we have spent decades and hundreds of billions of dollars widening and building new highways. We added 30,511 new freeway lane-miles of road in the largest 100 urbanized areas between 1993 and 2017, an increase of 42 percent. That rate of freeway expansion significantly outstripped the 32 percent growth in population in those regions over the same time period. Yet this strategy has utterly failed to “solve” the problem at hand—delay is up in those urbanized areas by a staggering 144 percent." 

Workforce organizes to encourage companies to support TCI Climate VoiceMarch, 2020. “Over 500 students across the United States, as well as dozens of employees of corporations, have signed a petition organized by ClimateVoice urging companies operating in the 12 TCI states to support TCI's plan to create a clean transportation future in the region.  Young people are making clear to companies that it's time for them to get off the sidelines and support climate action - and climate policy - everywhere they operate."   


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