OTF News Releases

Statehouse News: Groups Urge MA Commission On The Future Of Transportation To Establish Regional Climate Policy Ensuring Reductions In Transportation CO2 Emissions

Massachusetts News Advisory and Daybook Calendar

BOSTON (Media Advisory) Acadia Center and Transportation for Massachusetts announced today that a sign-on letter regarding clean transportation has been submitted to the Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The letter is signed by a wide array of transportation, business, social justice, health, and environmental groups. Groups signing the letter are pressing to have the key action items outlined in the letter be incorporated into the Commission’s final report to the Governor in December.

The full text of a sign-on letter sent today to the Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is copied below:

Dear Chair Kadish, Vice Chair McAnneny, and Commissioners,

“The undersigned 46 organizations, representing a broad range of transportation, environmental, business, and community stakeholders, write to you in support of an ambitious vision for the future of transportation in the Commonwealth. We offer these concrete recommendations for action to achieve that future in an efficient and equitable manner. We appreciate your hard work as a part of the Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (“the Commission”) and thank the Baker-Polito Administration for launching this effort.

“All residents of Massachusetts know that the Commonwealth is facing a broad array of transportation challenges. Our roads are among the most congested in the nation, and for too many Massachusetts residents, options like public transit, walking, and biking are inaccessible, impractical, or unsafe. Lost time in traffic is a major drain on the Commonwealth’s productivity and deteriorates quality of life. Long commutes present a major obstacle between businesses and potential employees, exacerbating unemployment in low-income communities and making it harder for businesses to fill open positions. Meanwhile, pollution from the transportation sector is the Commonwealth’s leading contributor to climate change and a major driver of respiratory illnesses, like asthma, with particularly devastating health impacts in low-income communities and communities of color.

“Massachusetts cannot afford to wait to address these challenges, and the Commonwealth cannot succeed with siloed policy approaches. We need thoughtful, ambitious leadership and holistic solutions to confront the urgent and intertwined challenges posed by our current transportation system.  

“A shared vision of the Commonwealth’s future of transportation will help us achieve a clean, modern, and equitable system, but we need much more than a set of long-term goals. The limitations and failures of our current transportation system have dire consequences, and we need urgent action. The action steps offered below would make substantial progress towards a vision of the future of transportation in which all of the Commonwealth’s residents and businesses are connected by affordable, low-carbon mobility options.  

Regional Transportation Climate Policy and Equitable, Clean Transportation Investments

“Massachusetts has a history of leadership on difficult issues, and regional collaboration has been a key to success. Given the regional nature of our transportation challenges, from interstate traffic and commerce to the pollution we breathe from our upwind neighbors, Massachusetts should lead the way in developing regional solutions.  

  • Establish regional climate policy that ensures reductions in transportation CO2 emissions, provides a price signal to incentivize low-carbon transportation investments, and delivers improved air quality and mobility options in disadvantaged communities.    
  • Implement regional climate policies that deliver resources necessary to make targeted, clean transportation investments. These targeted investments must be informed by community and stakeholder input and should align with the holistic vision for equitable, low-carbon transportation.  

Mode Shift, Traffic Reduction, and Smart, Equitable Growth

“Addressing the diverse transportation needs of the Commonwealth’s communities and businesses will require a significant shift from the current landscape dominated by single-occupant vehicles. Public transit, walking, and biking reduce traffic and improve public health, and Massachusetts must do more to enable widespread use of those alternatives to single-occupant vehicles. How we travel is often determined by where we live, and Massachusetts should promote transit-oriented development with an emphasis on preserving and expanding affordable housing and providing incentives that promote more concentrated development patterns.

  • Consider and integrate all modes of travel into major state transportation projects, such as busonly lanes and bike lanes, and expand the municipal Complete Streets program to make walking, biking, or public transit safer and more appealing as an alternative to driving.
  • Expand affordable housing and anti-displacement efforts to preserve intact communities and ensure that our cities and centers of job growth are accessible to all Massachusetts residents.
  • Pursue high-density transit-oriented development to increase transit ridership and minimize vehicle trips.
  • Increase and prioritize investment in public transit to expand coverage, enhance capacity, upgrade facilities, and ensure reliability, resiliency, and affordability.  
  • Electrify public transit vehicles, including school buses, transit buses, and trains to maximize climate benefits and reduce harmful air pollution in nearby communities.  

Electric Vehicles

“Last but not least, we need to switch from fossil fuels to electricity wherever possible for our transportation needs. Doing so will dramatically reduce harmful pollution and will keep Massachusetts dollars in the local economy, rather than spending billions of dollars each year on imported fuels.

  • Expand incentive programs in Massachusetts to make electric vehicles (EVs) more affordable, particularly for low-income residents. A rebate program for all eligible low-income customers across the Commonwealth will accelerate adoption of EVs and give more drivers the opportunity to switch to cleaner vehicles.  
  • Increase deployment of charging infrastructure in Massachusetts to improve range confidence and meet growing demand from EV owners.  
  • Build awareness of EVs as a viable option for all drivers through widespread public education and coordinate those efforts with public policy programs, like expanded EV infrastructure.
  • Implement smarter electricity rates, utility investments, and other programs to promote EV adoption to optimize and ensure a reliable and efficient electric system.
  • Offer large-scale and low-cost opportunities (through incentives and the use of Volkswagen settlement funds) to electrify public and private fleets.”

SIGNING ORGANIZATIONS

Acadia Center

Transportation for Massachusetts

A Better City

Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE)

Bedford Mothers Out Front Bedford

Net Zero Working Group

Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT)

Climate Action Now, Western Mass

Climate Coalition of Somerville 

Conservation Law Foundation

CrossTown Connect TMA

E2 Environmental Entrepreneurs

Environmental League of Massachusetts

Environment America

Environmental Massachusetts

First Parish in Bedford, Climate Justice Group

Food & Water Watch

Framingham State University

Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution, Climate Change Task Force

Friends of the Community Path

Green Cambridge

Green Energy Consumers Alliance

Green Streets Initiative

Health Care Without Harm

Kendall Square Association

League of Women Voters MA

LivableStreets Alliance

Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations

Massachusetts Biotechnology Council

Massachusetts Climate Action Network

Massachusetts Sierra Club

Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance

Mothers Out Front

National Consumer Law Center, on behalf of our low-income clients

Natural Resources Defense Council

Neponset Valley TMA

No Sharon Gas Pipeline | Clean Energy Now

Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC)

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership (STEP)

Springfield Partners for Community Action

The Nature Conservancy

Toxics Action Center

350 Massachusetts

Unitarian Universalist Mass Action Network

WalkBoston

MEDIA CONTACT:  Pat Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com.