WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Leading environmental, scientific, transportation, health, and business organizations working to advance modern, clean, equitable and low-carbon transportation celebrated an announcement today from nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic governors and the Mayor of Washington, D.C. to move forward with a regional clean transportation initiative.
These 10 members of the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) will now transition from a year-long public comment phase, which engaged communities, businesses and stakeholders across the region, to begin crafting policies and programs to address their transportation challenges, improve mobility, provide more transportation options and curb the largest source of pollution that contributes to climate change.
Today’s announcement marks the next big step for a handful of states and the District of Columbia that pledged to begin development of a regional policy during the Bonn Climate Change Summit in November 2017. With the addition of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, the regional clean transportation initiative is demonstrating growth and strong momentum that could prompt more states to join in support of a regional plan.
Leading transportation policy experts commented on the recent announcement by the Governors of CT, DE, MA, MD, NJ, PA, RI, VA and VT, and Mayor of Washington, D.C.
Bruce Ho, senior advocate, climate and clean energy, Natural Resources Defense Council: “Our transportation system is in crisis, and fixing decades of neglect will require strong, aggressive leadership at all levels of government. This commitment from Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to transform and modernize our aging transportation – from cleaner cars and trucks to more efficient buses, trains, and walkable and bikeable communities – will make us safer and healthier and help meet the transportation needs of all residents. We stand ready to work with governors and stakeholders across the region to advance this bold, bipartisan commitment.”
Jordan Stutt, director of carbon programs, Acadia Center said: “This is what climate leadership looks like. These states have gathered input from 500 stakeholders over the last year, and now they’re using that feedback to inform climate action. The plan they have unveiled today will make our air cleaner while unleashing investments to deliver the modern, accessible transportation options that the region demands.”
“These nine states and the District of Columbia inspire us all with this ambitious, regional, bi-partisan plan to tackle one of the biggest challenges—cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by transitioning to clean transportation. Were these states a country, it would be the world’s fifth-largest economy, just behind Germany,” said Ken Kimmell, president, Union of Concerned Scientists. “These states help reassure an anxious world that the United States is still in the fight, while meeting the pressing needs of their residents who want clean, reliable, affordable transportation options. UCS applauds the Governors and other leaders who have taken this step, and we will work with them and a diverse set of stakeholders to bring this proposed plan over the finish line.”
“As climate pollution rises, it’s more important than ever that state leaders take action to address climate change -- and that’s exactly what the Northeast is doing,” said Mark Kresowik, regional deputy director, Sierra Club. “Developing a modern, clean transportation system by expanding access to electric vehicles, public transit, and walkable and bikeable communities will save lives, create new jobs, and help people get where they're going faster. That's why there’s overwhelming public support for action.”
Chris Dempsey of Transportation for Massachusetts said: “On behalf of our more than 70 transportation, environmental, and planning organizations, we applaud Governor Baker’s leadership in advancing the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) as part of his strategy to aggressively move Massachusetts away from the use of carbon fuels. By joining other states from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic in advancing TCI, Governor Baker has demonstrated the type of bipartisan, innovative, and reform-minded approach to complex problems for which he is known.”
“Business leaders in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic know that fighting climate change is not a zero sum game. We can reduce emissions and safeguard our environment all while growing the economy,” said Noah Dubin, eastern states advocate, E2. “This regional approach to lowering transportation emissions is a perfect example; it will create jobs, modernize infrastructure to meet commuter’s 21st-century needs, and spur innovation up and down the East Coast.”
Nick Sifuentes, executive director, Tri-State Transportation Campaigns said: "The northeast has made tremendous progress on combating greenhouse gases and pollution from power plants. Thanks to that hard work across multiple states, emissions have decreased significantly. Now it's time for us to tackle the transportation sector, which has become the single largest contributor to greenhouse gases in the region. The Transportation and Climate Initiative is the best way to bring states together to keep up what has become the biggest fight of our generation."
“The health and economic well-being of people and our planet depend on bold action today to create a transportation system for the future,” said Amy Laura Cahn, director, Healthy Communities & Environmental Justice program at Conservation Law Foundation. “Environmental justice communities have the fewest resources to adapt to the impacts of climate change but have long borne the greatest burdens of pollution and transportation inequity. We welcome a regional problem-solving approach, but our most disadvantaged residents must have a seat at the table.”
Claire Coleman, climate and energy attorney, Connecticut Fund for the Environment said: “Transportation is the largest contributor of emissions in Connecticut, and pollutants from dirty cars hurt our residents—especially those in low-income communities. A regional plan to tackle these emissions equitably will be good for Connecticut’s health and economy, and will generate badly-needed revenue to clean up our air and modernize aging transportation systems. Connecticut Fund for the Environment is thrilled that our state will continue to work with its neighbors to move this critical policy forward.”
Omer W. Khwaja, Esq., New York campaign director, Jobs to Move America said: "Significant benefits to working people will flow from investing in a measured transition to a clean transportation system in the Northeast region: job-pipelines for disadvantaged workers, improved access to clean air and public transportation for working communities, and job retraining opportunities for those currently working in industries dependent on fossil fuel. Jobs to Move America is confident that lifting workers' concerns at these listening sessions will help accelerate this transition."
Alexander Rodriguez, organizer, Chispa Community said: “Climate change is the struggle of our generation and Connecticut has led the way when it comes to cutting emissions and investing in clean energy. This initiative is the next step in the fight to protect our communities--especially the most vulnerable among us--and turn the tide against climate change. Carbon pollution, rising sea levels, and severe weather events affect us all, but they don't affect us all equally. Communities of color and low-income communities are often hit the hardest, and this initiative addresses those inequalities while providing transportation solutions that are clean, equitable, and forward-thinking."
Rick Dimino, president and CEO, A Better City said: “This is a great opportunity to use a proven market mechanism to help the Commonwealth achieve our transportation and climate goals as well as the recommendations set out in the Governor’s Future of Transportation Commission Report. We look forward to working with the Baker administration as well as the other East Coast states to ensure an effective and efficient cap-and-invest system is implemented and utilized to advance these important goals.”
“The Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC) is excited to see a regional effort to advance clean transportation finally bearing fruit. We applaud the nine participating states and Washington, D.C., for their leadership,” said Peter Rothstein, president, NECEC. “NECEC and our member companies look forward to building on today’s commitment. Together, we can create a modern, non-emitting transportation system that works for our economy and our environment.”
Michael Green, executive director, Climate XChange said: “The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic have the opportunity to lead the nation on clean transportation with carbon pricing. This policy can create less congested roadways, cleaner air, and thousands of jobs. The states’ collective action shows that not only can we lead but we can do it in a bipartisan way. We look forward to learning more about the implementation process and how we can work towards a cleaner transportation system in the region.”
Kai Salem, program associate, Green Energy Consumer Alliance said: “Green Energy Consumers Alliance is a non-profit consumer and environmental advocacy organization based in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We harness the power of our members to speed the transition to a clean energy future. Our transportation system, the largest emissions source in the northeast, must undergo a drastic transformation to become equitable, accessible, and less polluting. We strongly support today’s announcement and the Governors’ intent to pursue a regional transportation strategy as a crucial first step.”
Nancy Goodman, vice president for policy, The Environmental League of MA said: “We applaud the nine states and DC for committing to working together to reduce transportation emissions and moving us towards a cleaner, greener future. Committing as a region to designing a market based program holds great promise for environmental, equity and economic benefits.”
Zoe Lipman, director, Vehicles and Advanced Transportation Program at BlueGreen Alliance said: “We applaud the important step taken by these states and Washington, D.C. to address America’s climate and economic challenges, and to help ensure the U.S. leads in the development of the next generation of transportation, vehicles, technology, and infrastructure. With sound design and implementation, the program can not only cut emissions and strengthen communities, but help rebuild American manufacturing and secure and create good paying American jobs for today and tomorrow.”
“The transportation sector in the U.S. is currently the number one contributor to greenhouse gas pollution that causes climate change,” says Lynn Scarlett, vice president of policy and government affairs, The Nature Conservancy. “We applaud these states who have taken up the challenge to address climate change – one that emphasizes reducing traffic congestion, increases the use of public transportation, alleviates stress on infrastructure, and improves air quality. We look forward to working with the states and with other stakeholders to sustain economic opportunities while safeguarding a future for our children.”
“We urgently need to modernize our transportation system to provide people with affordable, reliable transportation solutions that meet their everyday needs and reduce transportation sector emissions,” said Jim Madej, CEO of VEIC. “We commend Governor Phil Scott for taking this historic step to work collaboratively with other leaders across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to address these pressing issues.”
“There are tremendous environmental, economic and equity-creating benefits at our fingertips if we get serious about transforming our outdated regional transportation system,” said Johanna Miller, energy and climate action program director, Vermont Natural Resources Council. “We can create a cleaner, more efficient, accessible and affordable 21st century transportation network but we need supportive policy frameworks that drive that innovation and transformation. Broad and bold political leadership is essential and today’s announcement is a positive step forward.”
ABOUT THE GROUPS
The organizations quoted in this release are part of a broad coalition of groups advancing modern, efficient, equitable, and clean, low-carbon transportation solutions in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The groups are 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.
An improved transportation system means more clean cars and trucks, more reliable mass transit, more walkable and bikeable communities, and investments that connect everyone, including those in underserved and rural areas.