OTF Newsletter

OTF Newsletter

February 2020, Vol 28

Public Comments Show “Overwhelming Support” For Program To Cut Pollution And Modernize Transportation In Northeast And Mid-Atlantic States Our Transportation Future, February 28, 2020. “'The message from residents of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to lawmakers couldn’t be clearer: The proposed Transportation & Climate Initiative cap-and-invest program to modernize transportation in the region is a winner.  A strong 91 percent of public comments from 12 states and the District of Columbia support the Transportation & Climate Initiative’s policy, according to a review by the Our Transportation Future (OTF) coalition of the 8,308 public comments filed in the public portal since mid-December. An improved regional transportation system would mean more electric cars and trucks and charging infrastructure, reliable mass transit, walkable and bikeable communities, less congestion and pollution, and increased investments in projects that connect everyone, including those in underserved and rural areas."

January 2020, Vol 27

TCI is the solution to Virginia's transportation, climate problems The Free Lance-Star/Fredricksburg, VA (opinion)January 22, 2020. Ken Lockin: “The other great advantage of TCI is its regional approach. Virginia’s transportation systems are intimately connected to Washington, D.C., Maryland and the entire region, so a real solution to transportation challenges must be regional as well. TCI has broad support from the general public as well as members of the private sector. More than 50 companies have shared their support for TCI and the importance of a regional approach to tackling transportation emissions. And recent polling shows strong public support for TCI, with 60 percent of respondents in favor of their state joining the program. As a coastal state, Virginia is already experiencing the threats of climate change more than most—and scientists have made it clear that we must dramatically scale up efforts to reduce GHG emissions if we are to mitigate the worst impacts of a warming world."

November and December 2019, Vol. 26

Eastern States Introduce a Plan to Cap Tailpipe PollutionNew York TimesDecember 17, 2019. “The region’s cars, trucks and other forms of transport are now responsible for more than 40 percent of its greenhouse gas pollution, according to the Energy Information Administration.The plan’s backers also stress the importance of regional action at a time when the Trump administration is rolling back a range of climate policies, including weakening standards that would have forced automakers to meet far more stringent fuel efficiency rules. 'When we’re going backward at the federal level, for states to step up and take action on climate, take steps to modernize our transportation system, it’s just an unprecedented opportunity,' said Jordan Stutt, carbon programs director at the Acadia Center, a research and public interest group in New England that is pushing for cleaner energy. 'If designed well, this can be the most significant sub-national climate policy ever.'” 

October 2019, Vol. 25

Massachusetts joining 11 other states to cut back on carbon emissions from regional transportation, new draft policy shows  The Boston Globe, October 1, 2019. “Massachusetts and 11 Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states are jointly looking to scale back on gasoline and diesel emissions as part of an effort to implement a regional “low carbon” transportation policy, according to a draft policy framework released on Tuesday by the Transportation Climate Initiative. The Transportation Climate Initiative is proposing through the draft plan a cap on motor emissions by requiring that state fuel suppliers hold allowances based on emission levels that have yet to be determined. A regional organization would then auction the allowances in the “cap-and-invest” scheme, and each jurisdiction — or state — would decide how to invest the program’s proceeds based on their transportation needs. Participating states include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. The initial cap would be set using a combination of baseline emissions for three recent years and projected emissions, then decline over time, according to the plan. TCI is looking to begin the program as early as 2022 and reach a target emissions level in 2032.”

September 2019, Vol. 24

New State Effort to Ramp Up Electric Vehicle Usage New Jersey Spotlight, September 30, 2019. “The state is moving to tackle one of its toughest climate action goals: putting 330,000 electric vehicles on the road in New Jersey in less than six years. In a step toward achieving that goal, the state Board of Public Utilities wants to hire a consultant to administer a program to jump-start New Jersey’s efforts to electrify the transportation sector, which now accounts for 46% of emissions contributing to global warming. The BPU started the process Friday, September 27, a move clean-energy advocates hope will revive the state’s push to transition to cleaner vehicles on New Jersey roads. New Jersey and other Northeastern states made the commitment to comply with California’s zero emission vehicle program.”

August 2019, Vol. 23

Maine launches rebate program for hybrid, electric vehicles, Portland Press Herald, August 30, 2019. “A $5.1 million legal settlement won by Maine against German automaker Volkswagen Group and its affiliates is being used to fund a new statewide rebate program for buyers of hybrid and electric vehicles.  The program, announced Friday by Gov. Janet Mills, will provide rebates of $1,000 to $2,000 on qualifying plug-in hybrid and battery-powered electric vehicles, with higher rebates being offered to low-income households and government entities, including tribal governments. The initiative is called the EV Accelerator Program and is being administered by the quasi-state agency Efficiency Maine Trust.  According to the National Resources Council of Maine, the new rebate can be combined with federal incentives to provide a total of up to $9,500 off the price of a plug-in vehicle in Maine. It said states offering financial incentives have experienced 15 to 25 percent higher sales of plug-in vehicles compared with the national average.

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…”

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.”’

May 2019, Vol. 20

Colberg, Carlton & McDowell: Regional collaboration key to creating modern transportation system VTDigger, (editorial) May 30, 2019. “In 2016, the transportation sector surpassed the electric power sector to become the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. In fact, the transportation sector is responsible for nearly a third of all U.S. Greenhouse gas emissions — contributing to climate change and air pollution, and exacerbating public health concerns.

April 2019, Vol. 19

Clean vehicles can save rural drivers the most Roanoke (VA) Times (opinion), April 26, 2019. “As the only southern state participating in the 12-state Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), Virginia made a bold policy commitment in December to implement a carbon pricing plan by the end of 2019 that will help fund investments in regional clean transportation strategies.