“What’s important for this movement that is happening right now is that there is a lot of work being done to get the design of the programs done right,” said Emily Lewis, director of climate and energy analysis at the Acadia Center, which monitors climate policies in the Northeast. That includes work around the emerging Transportation Climate Initiative.

“Programs are trying to get more input at the front end of design, which was a criticism of RGGI, that is was designed before getting input,” Lewis said.

As part of the transportation initiative’s required public engagement, Lewis said, planners should do more to listen to what residents, including low-income folks and those from historically disadvantaged communities, want from transportation. It may not be incentives and rebates.

“The first thing that comes to mind when designing for equity is humility — you need to start with an open ear and an open chair and give space to the population being served,” said Williams of the Center for Sustainable Energy. “Often the design process is not collaborative itself. With that kind of humility as the first important ingredient.”

A recent public meeting on transportation issues in Connecticut revealed that residents care about safe walking and biking options, as well as more investments in public transit, Lewis said. Any rollout of new programs to address historical deficits in transportation infrastructure for low-income or historically marginalized communities will need to be considered.

“The savings from [the Transportation Climate Initiative] could be used to fund things like EV rebates — as people are still going to be driving,” Lewis said “By engaging communities and hearing their needs, it means that we can also look at funding some of these other transportation options so that we ensure benefits can be spread equitably.”

Read the full article from Energy News Network here.