‘TEAM’ Community Act Introduced in House and Senate; Business and Stakeholder Groups Encouraged as Rhode Island Looks to Join Regional Transportation & Climate Initiative Program
PROVIDENCE, RI – May 6, 2021 – The Our Transportation Future (OTF) coalition strongly supports the Transportation Emissions and Mobility (TEAM) Community Act (SB-0872), which will formalize Rhode Island’s adoption of the regional Transportation & Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P). The introduction of SB-0872 today follows the December announcement by Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia to join the initial implementation of the program, which will reduce harmful air-pollution and modernize transportation along the East Coast. TCI-P is on track to formally launch in 2023.
Businesses and investors, as well as local transportation, health, environment, labor, safety, and community groups strongly support TCI. The program will cut greenhouse gas emissions from the region’s transportation sector by an estimated 26% from 2022 to 2032 while generating more than $20 million per year for Rhode Island to invest in accessible, equitable, cleaner transportation options. Those investments will yield approximately $100 million in annual health benefits by 2032 and create or sustain good paying jobs.
In making TCI-P as effective and fair as it can be, it’s critical that the program include input from the communities who are shouldering the burden of the harmful health effects and rising costs from transportation-related air pollution. That’s why SB-0872 includes the creation of an Equity Advisory Board, including existing members of Health Equity Zones, one of many elements of the bill meant to ensure equity is achieved through the implementation of the Transportation & Climate Initiative Program.
Hank Webster, Rhode Island Director at Acadia Center and a member of the Our Transportation Future coalition, issued the following statement today:
“Today’s introduction of the TEAM Community Act is a key milestone towards Rhode Island’s adoption of the regional TCI Program. Leaders across the state are bringing Rhode Island one meaningful step closer to providing critical funding for a 21st Century transportation system that will improve our neighborhoods, public health, air quality, and business environment.
At the same time the federal government looks to spend trillions on infrastructure, the Rhode Island legislature is taking a particularly important step to ensure that Rhode Island is joining our neighbors at the forefront of an innovative program to reduce harmful pollution and invest in communities along the East Coast.
The TEAM Communities Act will ensure economic competitiveness through an improved regional transportation system. That means more electric cars, trucks, and charging infrastructure; reliable and safe mass transit; walkable and bikeable communities; and less congestion and pollution.
TCI-P works by placing a regional cap on the total amount of carbon pollution from the transportation sector. Large petroleum companies that sell and distribute motor vehicle fuels in the region would be required to purchase a limited number of allowances to account for the pollution produced by their fuels. Proceeds from the sale of allowances would be sent back to the states to be invested in clean transportation options for consumers and businesses.
In October, over 100 large and small businesses sent a letter urging then-Governor Raimondo to join the Transportation & Climate Initiative program. The letter, signed by notable companies such as Schneider Electric, Unilever, Siemens, DHL and more, warned that “the existing transportation system is a roadblock to our economic and our climate goals”.
Our Transportation Future is a coalition of 77 local, regional, and national organizations committed to modernizing transportation across the Eastern U.S. OTF is focused on improving our transportation system -- the ways we move people and goods in the region – to spur economic growth, make us healthier and safer, clean up the environment, and improve our quality of life.
Alex Frank, (703) 276-3264, [email protected];