BOSTON — Today, three states and the District of Columbia announced their plan for a regional program to cut tailpipe pollution while delivering much-needed investments in clean, equitable, and modern transportation options. Working together through the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. will participate in a cap-and-invest program to revitalize their transportation system and rein in pollution from vehicles, which are the country’s largest source of carbon emissions.
“Through their collaboration on TCI, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island will deliver cleaner, fairer and better transportation options for their residents and cleaner air in the most polluted communities, said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center’s President. “These states are providing the kind of bipartisan leadership on climate change in the region that we all deserve. Acadia Center is committed to advancing a clean energy future that works for everyone, and major improvements in the transportation sector will help achieve this vision.”
The four jurisdictions participating in the program need to achieve significant emission reductions from the transportation sector to meet their ambitious climate targets. Transportation pollution accounts for 46% of the CO2 emissions across Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., more than double the contribution to climate change from any other sector. By participating in the TCI program, these jurisdictions will be able to invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year in clean transportation projects that create jobs, boost the economy, improve mobility, and slash pollution.
The collaboration between Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. represents action at a substantial scale. With a combined GDP of $1.09 trillion, the participating jurisdictions would be the world’s 15th largest economy, similar in output to Mexico. And the scale of this project is likely to grow. In a separate document released today, the four MOU signatories were joined by eight other TCI member states to assert that they are collaborating on the next steps of the cap-and-invest program’s development, suggesting that the program will expand beyond southern New England and D.C. Notably, that list includes a new TCI member, North Carolina, demonstrating the growing appeal of the TCI framework. All together, these jurisdictions would represent the world’s third largest economy.
As for the details, the TCI jurisdictions have incorporated stakeholder feedback to make the program more equitable and ambitious. Important new provisions have been added to last year’s draft MOU to ensure that overburdened and underserved communities receive at least their proportional share of TCI proceeds, that those communities are included in investment decisions and program design, and that air quality monitors will be deployed in the most polluted communities.
“These commitments represent significant progress at the regional level, but states have much more work to do to develop stakeholder processes and policy solutions that meet the needs of their communities,” said Jordan Stutt, Acadia Center’s Carbon Programs Director. “While an equitably-designed TCI program should benefit overburdened and underserved communities, TCI is just one piece of the puzzle: other action will still be necessary to deliver transportation justice.”
The MOU also charts an ambitious emission reduction trajectory. The emissions cap will decline by 30% from 2023 to 2032, consistent with recommendations Acadia Center submitted on behalf of 200 organizations in November. Reducing CO2 emissions from transportation fuels by 30% will help states achieve their climate targets while delivering critical improvements in air quality. The TCI program and additional transportation policies are key to realizing Acadia Center’s vision for a just and sustainable future.
Acadia Center is a regionally-focused, non-profit organization headquartered in Rockport, Maine, working to advance a clean energy future that benefits all.
Massachusetts and Regional:
Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director
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Amy McLean Salls, Connecticut Director and Senior Policy Advocate
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Hank Webster, Rhode Island Director and Staff Attorney
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Jeff Marks, Maine Director & Senior Policy Advocate
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