TCI's Regional Policy Design Process

Updated December 21, 2020

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This page includes updates and milestones of the TCI regional low-carbon policy development process. For a full timeline of TCI's collaborative work over the years, view the Timeline of the Transportation & Climate Initiative.


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:
 

Transportation, Equity, Climate and Health (TRECH) study details public health benefits from potential low-carbon transportation program

A new collaborative study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Boston University School of Public Health, the Columbia Center for Children's Health, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill details the game-changing public health benefits of the Transportation & Climate Initiative’s proposed regional, pollution-cutting transportation program. According to preliminary results released on October 6, 2020, every county in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic would see public health benefits from a regional, low-carbon transportation program that TCI is developing, and would have benefits in both rural and urban areas with the greatest public health benefits concentrated in more populated areas. Notably, the study finds that the TCI program would reduce racial inequality in exposure to air pollution, and that communities that have historically endured the most pollution will also benefit the most. Read more about the study on the Harvard T.H. Chan website.


TCI webinar on ensuring environmental justice and equity in a regional low-carbon transportation program

Tuesday, September 29 at 4-6pm
 
On Tuesday, September 29 at 4-6pm ET, the bipartisan group of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions that make up the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) held the second of two public September webinars to share updates and invite public input on TCI’s collaborative work toward a final regional agreement to cap global warming pollution from transportation fuels and invest millions annually to achieve additional benefits through reduced emissions, cleaner transportation, healthier communities, and more resilient infrastructure.
 
The webinar focused on proposed measures intended to ensure that the program fosters equity for overburdened and underserved communities, building on states’ longstanding commitment to designing a program that benefits all communities, including those on the frontlines of air pollution and climate change impacts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fact that racial disparities in exposure to air pollution are reflected in disproportionate impacts of the coronavirus and other health threats. The TCI jurisdictions have received extensive input from a wide range of interested people and organizations on ways states could design and implement a regional low-carbon transportation program that advances equity and environmental justice. Informed by that input and further outreach, TCI state officials provided updates on proposed strategies to ensure that overburdened and underserved communities benefit from investments and reduced air pollution and have opportunities for meaningful engagement in shaping TCI commitments and implementation moving forward.

Sept. 29 webinar slide deck

Webinar recording

Compilation of Complementary Transportation Policies in TCI Jurisdictions that Advance Goals of Equity and Environmental Justice (PDF)

The Transportation & Climate Initiative is facilitated by the Georgetown Climate Center. Please contact climate@georgetown.edu with any questions, or to request language translation or other assistance related to the webinar.


TCI jurisdictions share updates during two September webinars

September 4, 2020 -- The bipartisan group of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions that make up the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) today announced they will host two public webinars in September to share updates and invite public input. During these events, which are open to all, state officials will present new information on TCI’s collaborative work toward a final regional agreement to cap global warming pollution from transportation fuels and invest millions annually to achieve additional benefits through reduced emissions, cleaner transportation, healthier communities, and more resilient infrastructure. Each will also include opportunities for the public to ask questions and provide feedback on the information presented. Both webinars will be recorded and published on the TCI website following the events.

TCI Webinar on program design, modeling, and the implications of COVID-19

Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 9 - 11 AM

TCI leaders shared updates on the development of a regional low-carbon transportation policy, presented on new modeling results, and led discussion of how a regional TCI program could effectively manage a wide range of uncertainties, including those related to COVID-19. The webinar also provided an opportunity for further public input regarding modeling and how the program could be designed to ensure participating jurisdictions achieve environmental, economic, and social equity goals.

Sept. 16 webinar presentation slides

Sept. 16 webinar recording

More TCI program modeling resources

TCI webinar on ensuring environmental justice and equity in a regional low-carbon transportation program
Tuesday, September 29, 2020, 4 - 6 PM

This webinar focused on proposed measures intended to ensure the program fosters equity for overburdened and underserved communities, building on states’ longstanding commitment to designing a program that benefits all communities, including those on the frontlines of air pollution and climate change impacts. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fact that racial disparities in exposure to air pollution are reflected in disproportionate impacts of the coronavirus and other health threats. The TCI jurisdictions have received extensive input from a wide range of interested people and organizations on ways states could design and implement a regional low-carbon transportation program that advances equity and environmental justice. Informed by that input and further outreach, TCI state official provided updates on proposed strategies to ensure that overburdened and underserved communities benefit from investments and reduced air pollution and have opportunities for meaningful engagement in shaping TCI commitments and implementation moving forward. 

Sept. 29 webinar slide deck

Webinar recording

Compilation of Complementary Transportation Policies in TCI Jurisdictions that Advance Goals of Equity and Environmental Justice (PDF)


Updates on the TCI Regional Policy Development Process

May 15, 2020 -- In light of the unprecedented need for governors and agencies to respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Transportation and Climate Initiative jurisdictions have shared an adjusted timeline for developing a regional clean transportation program.

Under the revised schedule, a final Memorandum of Understanding is now expected in the fall of 2020, at which point, each jurisdiction will decide whether to sign the MOU and participate in the regional program. The timing for signing the MOU has shifted to the fall, but work on the program details continues and engagement with stakeholders will continue to inform the process.

Over the next several months, TCI jurisdictions together will be working on:

  • Identifying investments, initiatives, and complementary policies that will further reduce pollution, benefit public health, create jobs, and accelerate economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic.
  • Economic and public health modeling to analyze how emissions reductions and investments in low-carbon transportation infrastructure will benefit people, businesses, and communities, particularly communities already bearing disproportionate impacts from pollution and lack of access to economic opportunities.

States continue to work on developing a draft Model Rule to release for public input following the final MOU.


Regional Proposal for Clean Transportation Reaches Milestone

States and D.C. invite feedback on Draft MOU, share estimates of potential benefits for health, environment, economy

December 17, 2019 -- The bipartisan group of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions that make up the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) today invited public input on a new draft proposal for a regional program to establish a cap on global warming pollution from transportation fuels and invest millions annually to achieve additional benefits through reduced emissions, cleaner transportation, healthier communities, and more resilient infrastructure.

The draft “Memorandum of Understanding” (Draft MOU) released today builds on a program framework made public on October 1, 2019. A final MOU is expected in the Spring of 2020, following additional public input and analysis. At that time each of the 12 TCI states and the District of Columbia will decide whether to sign the final MOU and participate in the regional program, which could be operational by 2022.

People and organizations provided extensive feedback on the earlier draft framework in more than 1,200 submissions to TCI’s online portal, as well as in public engagement sessions organized in individual states. The Draft MOU released today has been informed by that input and incorporates additional details on the goals and mechanics of such a program.

TCI jurisdictions are also sharing initial projections of the potential economic and public health benefits such a program would unlock region-wide. The TCI jurisdictions have conducted economic modeling to evaluate various options for a program that caps and reduces global-warming carbon dioxide pollution from combustion of gasoline and on-road diesel fuel by up to 25 percent compared to 2022 levels over 10 years.

The transportation sector is currently responsible for more than 40 percent of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions in the region, and soot and smog from cars and trucks are major contributors to lung disease and other health problems region-wide, particularly in low income communities. Preliminary modeling estimates that by 2032, the proposed program could yield monetized annual public health benefits of as much as $10 billion, including over 1,000 fewer premature deaths, and over 1,300 fewer asthma symptoms annually region-wide, among other safety and health benefits.

The associated auction of pollution allowances under the proposal is projected to generate up to nearly $7 billion annually that participating jurisdictions could invest in solutions to further reduce pollution and to improve transportation choices for rural, urban and suburban communities. Each participating jurisdiction will decide how to invest the auction proceeds to support TCI program goals.

TCI jurisdictions encourage people, companies, organizations, and communities to provide their input on the modeling findings and draft MOU to inform the final program design. Feedback is welcomed on all aspects of a potential program, and TCI jurisdictions are highlighting specific topics on which public input is of particular interest. Those topics include:

  • What factors should TCI jurisdictions consider when setting the starting level and the trajectory for a regional cap on carbon dioxide emissions from transportation fuels?
  • How should the compliance period be structured to provide needed flexibility, while ensuring environmental integrity?
  • What factors should TCI jurisdictions consider when designing mechanisms for managing uncertainty regarding future emissions and allowance prices?

Read the full Draft MOU

All interested parties are asked to provide their input by Friday, February 28, 2020.

The Transportation and Climate Initiative hosted a public webinar on December 17 to share the latest updates in the TCI regional low-carbon transportation policy development process.
 
 
 

Framework for a draft regional policy

October 1, 2019  – Jurisdictions participating in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) made available a framework for a draft regional policy proposal to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from transportation, and encouraged interested individuals and organizations to provide feedback on the draft framework through the TCI portal. This high-level framework represents an important milestone in the jurisdictions’ bipartisan regional collaboration this year, and reflects extensive public engagement, technical analysis and consultation.

View the full October 1, 2019 announcement.

Program Modeling Update
A range of modeling tools are being used to help inform decisions by TCI jurisdictions regarding the design of a regional cap-and-invest program and to provide a fuller picture of the potential benefits and costs of different program design options. While information about the modeling strategy has been shared with the public during TCI webinars held in May and July of this year, a written description with additional details is available. 

Summary of Public Input, January - October 2019 
This is a high-level summary of the extensive input people and organizations have submitted through regional workshops and webinars from January to October 2019. Since the beginning of 2019, TCI jurisdictions have conducted three regional workshops and several webinars, and continue to encourage interested people and organizations to submit input and ideas online. In addition, individual TCI jurisdictions are continuing to offer public workshops and other opportunities for people to participate in the policy development process.


About TCI's regional low-carbon transportation policy design process 

Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) jurisdictions are developing a regional policy for low-carbon transportation following the December 18, 2018 statement by nine states and Washington DC committing to:

“…design a regional low-carbon transportation policy proposal that would cap and reduce carbon emissions from the combustion of transportation fuels through a cap-and-invest program or other pricing mechanism… [and]… to complete the policy development process within one year, after which each jurisdiction will decide whether to adopt and implement the policy.”

TCI jurisdictions have designed a workplan with the goal of developing a policy that accelerates the transition to a low-carbon transportation future and delivers a better, cleaner, more resilient transportation system that benefits all our communities, particularly those underserved by current transportation options and disproportionately burdened by pollution, while making significant reductions in greenhouse gases and other harmful air pollution across the region. With ongoing facilitation support from the Georgetown Climate Center, TCI states are planning and beginning to implement a range of activities to ensure that the final proposed policy reflects further input from stakeholders, rigorous technical analysis, and consultation with leading experts.

For additional background, see the TCI Regional Policy Design Process Fact Sheet and the Cap-and-Invest Fact Sheet. Both documents are available in English, Spanish, Portugese, Chinese, and Haitian Creole.
 


Public workshops 

TCI has hosted three regional workshops this year to explore issues that will be central to the design of a proposed regional low-carbon transportation policy. These events are important opportunities for TCI jurisdictions to consult with experts, businesses, residents, and communities who might inform the policy. In-person workshops are supplemented by topical webinars and ongoing state outreach to constituents within their respective jurisdictions.

Technical Workshop: Regional Cap and Invest for Transportation, Key Design Elements
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Boston, Massachusetts

Topics covered at this workshop included:

  • Cost Containment and Program Ambition
  • Modeling Strategies
  • Monitoring and Reporting
  • Fuel Coverage and Compliance
 
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Newark, New Jersey
 
Topics covered at this workshop included:
  • Transportation priorities in underserved and disproportionately affected communities;
  • Reducing transportation emissions;
  • Ways to foster transportation equity in rural, suburban, and urban communities;
  • Ways a regional low-carbon transportation policy can complement other equity-related efforts.
 

Low-Carbon Transportation Investments, Strategies, and Outcomes
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Baltimore, Maryland

At this workshop, officials from TCI jurisdictions:

  • Provided public updates regarding the TCI regional policy development process and responded to related questions from stakeholders
  • Received guidance from subject matter experts and input from stakeholders on the following topics:
    • The potential environmental, health, and economic benefits of a regional low-carbon transportation program and associated investments;
    • Strategies for setting investment priorities and ways to measure and evaluate program performance; and
    • How a regional cap and invest program and potential complementary policies could work together.

A recording of the livestream will be available shortly. Click here for pictures and a summary of this workshop.

2018 Listening Sessions
Between March and August 2018, TCI hosted a series of six regional listening sessions, inviting input on potential policy approaches to bring about a cleaner and more resilient transportation future across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. Learn more and read a summary report of what was heard.

 


Webinars

Cap-and-Invest 101 
Friday, April 12, 2019
This video explores the principles behind cap-and-invest policies to reduce global warming pollution. The 40 minute presentation covers how cap-and-invest approaches operate, explores how such a program might be designed to spur investments in low-carbon transportation, and details steps states have taken to accelerate the transition to a cleaner, more resilient transportation system. Learn more.
 

Reference Case Assumptions for Policy Program Design

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Transportation and Climate Initiative and the Georgetown Climate Center presented a webinar to discuss modeling methods that TCI states are considering to inform the design of a proposed regional cap and invest program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. The purpose of this webinar was to review data inputs and assumptions that may be used for modeling a TCI “reference case,” which is the first step of the modeling process. Learn more.

 

Reference Case Results
Thursday, August 8, 2019
TCI state leaders shared updates and invited further input and questions from stakeholders to inform the design of a proposed regional cap-and-invest program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation. This interactive presentation reviewed:

  • Updates on the TCI "reference case" modeling run, the first step of the modeling process;
  • Public input received following a previous TCI webinar on reference case assumptions; and
  • Final inputs and assumptions that were used to run the reference case. ​

Learn more and view the slides from the Reference Case Results webinar
 

December 17 Webinar: Draft MOU and Modeling
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
The Transportation and Climate Initiative hosted a public webinar on December 17 to share the latest updates in the TCI regional low-carbon transportation policy development process, including a Draft MOU and preliminary modeling on the potential economic, public health, and emissions reductions benefits of such a program. 

 

 


Submit your input

You are invited to contribute suggestions, ideas, and other input through TCI's online form.

PLEASE NOTE: All input submitted via this form, including the names and affiliations of those providing the input, will be published on this website on an ongoing basis. View current submissions from stakeholders.

This page includes updates and milestones of the TCI regional low-carbon policy development process. For a full timeline of TCI's collaborative work over the years, view the Timeline of the Transportation & Climate Initiative.