Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, D.C. are First to Launch Groundbreaking Program to Cut Transportation Pollution, Invest in Communities

TCI-P will invest $300 million every year to modernize transportation, improve public health and combat climate change

December 21, 2020 – The governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, and the mayor of the District of Columbia announced today that theirs will be the first jurisdictions to launch a groundbreaking multi-state program that puts a brake on pollution while investing $300 million per year in cleaner transportation choices and healthier communities. The bipartisan Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) will cut greenhouse gas pollution from motor vehicles in the region by an estimated 26% from 2022 to 2032, generate a total of more than $3 billion dollars over ten years for the participating jurisdictions to invest in equitable, less polluting transportation options and to help energize economic recovery.  
In an accompanying statement, eight other Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast states signaled that they will continue to work with Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia on the development of the details of the regional program while pursuing state specific initiatives to reduce emissions and provide clean transportation solutions. As part of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Virginia have participated actively in developing the TCI-P and have the opportunity to join the program in the future. If all of the TCI jurisdictions eventually choose to implement the TCI-P, total proceeds available for investment could exceed $2 billion annually. 
The TCI-P will work by requiring large gasoline and diesel fuel suppliers to purchase “allowances” for the pollution caused by the combustion of fuels they sell in participating jurisdictions. Auctioning those allowances would generate $300 million every year among the jurisdictions for investments in equitable, less polluting, and more resilient transportation. The total number of emission allowances would decline each year, resulting in less transportation pollution. Jurisdictions will independently decide how to invest program proceeds. 
The Memorandum of Understanding signed today by Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia also includes a commitment to dedicate a minimum of 35% of each jurisdiction’s proceeds — nearly $100 million each year in the inaugural jurisdictions combined — to ensure that communities underserved by the transportation system and overburdened by pollution will benefit equitably from clean transportation projects and programs. To make sure those investments deliver on the equity and environmental justice goals of the program, each jurisdiction will designate an advisory body to identify underserved and overburdened communities, provide guidance for investments, and define goals and metrics for measuring progress. A majority of the members of each advisory body will be people from or representing underserved and overburdened communities.  
Each Signatory Jurisdiction will work with communities and with its Equity Advisory Body to assess the equity impacts of the program on an ongoing basis, including by monitoring air quality in communities overburdened by air pollution to ensure the effectiveness of policies and investments, and will ensure transparency by annually reviewing and reporting on program progress. The jurisdictions also commit to continue to work individually and together on additional policies that reduce pollution from transportation and advance shared goals of equity and environmental justice.  
This announcement comes at a time when the impacts of climate change are being felt across the country and region. Transportation accounts for nearly 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. Exposure to air pollution exacerbates lung and heart ailments, causes asthma attacks, and increases the risk of a stroke and other serious health conditions. Prolonged exposure to air pollution may make it more difficult to recover from diseases like COVID-19, according to a recent Harvard School of Public Health report
TCI-P is projected to have significant public health benefits. If all TCI jurisdictions choose to implement the program, according to a recent Harvard Public Health study, the estimated health benefits could include up to 300 deaths avoided each year and hundreds of childhood asthma cases avoided each year by 2032. Health benefits would exceed the cost of the program — TCI jurisdictions would see up to $3 billion worth of annual public health and safety benefits in 2032 if all jurisdictions implement the TCI-P.  
Each jurisdiction implementing TCI-P will determine how to best invest program proceeds depending on their unique needs and goals. Example investments may include:  
  • Improving the reliability of public transit;  
  • Repairing existing roads and bridges and making transportation infrastructure more resilient to climate change;  
  • Expanding high speed internet for rural and low-income communities;  
  • Electrifying school buses and transit buses; 
  • Providing bus rapid transit and developing new bus routes in suburban and rural communities;  
  • Reducing air pollution by electrifying ports and freight facilities; 
  • Expanding safe bike lanes, walking trails, and sidewalks;  
  • Providing consumer rebates for electric and low-emission vehicles;  
  • Developing interstate electric vehicle charging corridors; and  
  • Offering incentives for continued telecommuting to reduce congestion. 
Today’s TCI-P Memorandum of Understanding grew out of the Transportation and Climate Initiative, and was informed by extensive outreach and input from thousands of people, businesses, and organizations.  
The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is an ongoing multi-jurisdictional collaboration of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and Southeastern states and the District of Columbia that seeks to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. Collaborating TCI jurisdictions include Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. 
Participating Jurisdiction Statements on TCI-P:

“As a Commonwealth, we have an obligation to address climate change head on and a challenge this great requires action across our region and nation. That’s why I am proud to join Governor Lamont, Governor Raimondo and Mayor Bowser to launch this trailblazing program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while building the clean, resilient transportation system of the future," said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “By partnering with our neighbor states with which we share tightly connected economies and transportation systems, we can make a more significant impact on climate change while creating jobs and growing the economy as a result. Several other Transportation and Climate Initiative states are also committing to this effort today and we look forward to these partners moving ahead with us as we build out this first in the nation program.”

“Engaging in this way with my fellow governors and Mayor Bowser accomplishes goals we have set for Connecticut for years,” said Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. “Participating in the TCI-P will help grow our economy through a fresh injection of capital to provide for jobs and new infrastructure. This collaboration will cut our greenhouse gas emissions, and it will make our urban centers healthier, after decades of being adversely impacted by the emissions being released by traffic every day. Connecticut has always taken pride in our leadership role when it comes to climate, and when we can combine that with a stronger economy, fast transit systems, and regional cooperation, that’s a win for all of us.” 
“Joining the Transportation and Climate Initiative is an investment in Rhode Islanders,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “This first-of-its-kind program will provide $20 million annually for public transit, safe streets for bikers and pedestrians, and other green projects. Most importantly, it will provide much-needed relief for the urban communities who suffer lifelong health problems as a result of dirty air. I look forward to working with the Rhode Island General Assembly to launch this program and protect the health of Rhode Islanders.” 
“By working together across our borders at the state level, we can take on the greatest challenges posed by climate change,” said District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Through this multi-jurisdictional commitment, we will cut pollution, improve health outcomes, and deliver much-needed investments for our most vulnerable communities. This landmark initiative continues our vision to make District the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city for all of our residents.”  
Resources on the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program