First States Join Plan to Cut Pollution, Modernize Transportation

A new coalition applauds the first east coast governors on committing to a groundbreaking transportation and climate initiative program.

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Three East Coast states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island) and the District of Columbia, are the first to sign an agreement to participate in the Transportation & Climate Initiative Program (TCI), a cap-and-invest plan that will modernize transportation in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.

This was the earliest point at which states could sign on and more are expected to do so in the coming weeks and months. States such as New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Delaware, Maine, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia have all agreed to remain engaged and continue with the negotiation towards joining the program.

The TCI Program will significantly reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector as well as provide critical funding for 21st Century transportation solutions in urban, suburban and rural areas alike, improving neighborhoods, public health, air quality, and commutes. States will also prioritize communities who have borne the brunt of transportation-related pollution through investments in public transit, electric school and transit buses, and multi-modal transportation options. In addition, the TCI program is expected to save states billions of dollars in transportation pollution related health costs over the course of the program’s implementation.

From the beginning of the negotiation and planning process, Our Transportation Future (OTF) has been committed to an improved regional transportation system calling for reliable and safe mass transit; more electric buses, cars, and trucks; more charging infrastructure, walkable and bikeable communities; less congestion and pollution; and increased investments in projects that connect everyone.

In response to states’ commitment to implement and participate in the TCI Program, OTF members issued the following statement:

“Today is an enormous victory for everyone who is tired of the broken and unreliable transportation system in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. Governors Baker, Lamont and Raimondo, along with District of Columbia Mayor Bowser, have set a new benchmark in the region, committing to improving the region's transportation options so that they are lower-carbon, more efficient, reliable, and work for everyone. In addition to the states who have officially committed to the program today, OTF is pleased that the rest of the TCI-member states have committed to remaining at the table and may join in the coming months.

"The bold and ambitious Transportation & Climate Initiative program is an important step in cutting greenhouse gas pollution from the transportation sector. Still, more will need to be done to reduce pollution at the levels needed to stem the effects of climate change and address historic and current pollution burdens. We look forward to working with states to make the program as strong as possible, especially as it relates to cutting local emissions and improving access to quality transportation options in overburdened and underserved communities.

"It is encouraging to see that states have listened to their constituents on this issue, where recent polling has found that 7 in 10 East Coast voters support the program as a way to grow good-paying jobs and rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the commitment to direct at least 35% of the proceeds to underserved and overburdened communities and track air quality will help begin to reverse some of the inequities these communities have faced for decades.

"Our Transportation Future looks forward to a regional transportation system that will include modern and reliable public transit, electric vehicles, more bikeable and walkable streets, and less congestion, pollution and inequity. This is only the beginning.”