Massachusetts joined with ten U.S. states and the District of Columbia in announcing the creation of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) – a new regional transportation approach that will help states build the clean energy economy of the future.
The group, which includes top environment, energy and transportation officials from participating states, will work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimize the transportation system’s reliance on high-carbon fuels, promote sustainable growth and address the challenges of vehicle-miles traveled.
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia will participate, help shape the initiative’s work plan and develop project proposals for consideration.
The effort will build upon ongoing federal, state and regional collaborations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the recently announced initiative to develop a framework for a Low Carbon Fuel Standard among many of the same Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. In addition, the initiative will seek to coordinate with Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) partners already engaged in similar efforts in their role as metropolitan transportation planning agencies.
The collaboration is expected to significantly benefit individual states by boosting the effectiveness of existing state programs, maximizing the impact of future transportation investments through regional planning, increasing private and public sector innovation and accelerating the growth of clean energy jobs.
The transportation sector is responsible for about 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the United States.
Through its Declaration of Intent statement, participating TCI states agreed to take concrete actions to address the region’s climate and transportation needs:
“At a time when countries around the world are engaged in a race to build the clean energy economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions are once again poised to lead the way.
The Transportation and Climate Initiative provides our states with the opportunity to expand safe and reliable transportation options, attract federal investment, lower transportation costs, improve overall air quality and public health, and mitigate the transportation sector’s impact on climate change. Additionally, the TCI provides our states with the opportunity to further our collaboration on the research and development of advanced transportation technologies.
We further believe that this collaboration will aid our current efforts to:
· Reduce traffic congestion;
· Encourage job growth and accommodate the flow of goods and services;
· Establish state and local land use strategies that increase commercial and residential housing density and encourage transit-friendly design;
· Improve the performance of existing highway, transit and other transportation modes while enhancing neighborhoods and urban centers; and
· Promote mixed-use development that supports viable alternatives to driving.
We understand that the future of transportation and job growth in our states requires forward thinking, the early adoption and deployment of clean energy technologies and a regional approach to clean transportation. We also understand that talking about the future is not enough. We must act.”
TCI states will provide in-kind resources to the initiative through a staff work group, which will lay the groundwork for the TCI’s next meeting and seek public and private funding to support the initiative’s future work.
The Georgetown Climate Center facilitated the TCI’s initial meeting this week in Wilmington, Delaware, with financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation.