Organizations and businesses respond to TCI Draft MOU release

December 17, 2019

 

On December 17, 2019, TCI states shared for public input a Draft MOU for a regional low-carbon transportation program to reduce climate-changing emissions and invest in cleaner transportation, healthier communities, and more resilient infrastructure. They also shared initial projections of the potential economic and public health benefits that such a program could bring throughout the region. Below are statements from environmental groups, businesses, non-profit organizations, and more following the December 2019 release, listed alphabetically by organization:

 

Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director, Acadia Center

“Investment in better transportation options while reducing tailpipe pollution is a winning combination. Acadia Center applauds the TCI jurisdictions for developing this program, and we call on every participating Governor to ensure that the program is both robust and equitable; the program’s success will be determined by their ambition.”

 

David Mears, Executive Director of Audubon Vermont

“Climate change is the greatest threat to Vermont’s birds and wildlife. Vermonters have the opportunity to make a significant step forward to address that threat through the Transportation and Climate Initiative.” More…

 

Lynelle Cameron, Vice President of Sustainability, Autodesk

"Autodesk has its own internal price on carbon, so we have some experience integrating the cost of carbon into business decisions and mitigating against long-term risk. A market-based approach to tackling transportation emissions is a vital step in addressing the climate challenge while also benefiting the region’s economy.” More…

 

Zoe Lipman, Director of Vehicles and Advanced Transportation, BlueGreen Alliance

“The multi-state agreement is a major opportunity to cut pollution and boost investment in new transportation technology, fuels, and infrastructure, while creating and securing good jobs. Putting workers and communities front and center as cleaner transportation is planned and implemented will be key to ensuring the program meets its emissions goals while strengthening communities, helping rebuild American manufacturing, and boosting family supporting jobs.”

 

Paul Zabriskie, Capstone Community Action

“Transportation is not only a serious climate challenge, it is also a significant hurdle to job access and retention for the most vulnerable Vermonters. Participating in TCI, and then working to shape the program and direct revenues raised from it to provide more affordable, clean, and flexible transportation choices is critical. That must start with prioritizing solutions that best serve Vermonters with limited incomes and live in some of our most rural communities.” More...

 

Alli Gold Roberts, Director, State Policy, Ceres 

“Major investors and companies across the region are committed to reducing emissions from the transportation sector. The TCI jurisdictions have put forth a policy proposal that responds to this need and seeks to create a cleaner, more equitable and efficient transportation system. Collective action across the region has the potential to drive new economic growth, while reducing emissions from the most polluting sector of our economy. As we head into the new year, Ceres remains committed to working with the business community to ensure the region advances a market-based proposal to tackle the transportation emissions.” Read Ceres’ full statement...

 

Steven Hershkowitz, Maryland Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network

"While we're glad that Maryland and other TCI states are moving in this direction, today they announced an emissions reduction target of just 25 percent by 2032, well short of the 45 percent that is needed. We ran out of time for half-solutions to the climate crisis long ago. If the Hogan Administration wants to truly walk the walk on climate, they need to work with other states to reach a stronger commitment."

 

Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel, Clean Air Council

"Clean Air Council is pleased by the release of the draft MOU and believes adopting it can help meet Pennsylvania's greenhouse gas reduction goals. This policy is an important step, combined with Pennsylvania’s decision to join RGGI and reduce emissions from the natural gas industry. To be successful, this program must invest in public transportation, biking, and walking, particularly in communities that have been historically overburdened by transportation pollution."

 

Jonah Kurman-Faber, Senior Research Associate, Climate Xchange

“Climate XChange believes that the severity of the climate crisis necessitates swift action and bold leadership in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The states need a plan to achieve a 40% to 45% reduction in transportation emissions by 2032 -- putting us on a path to achieve an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. We look forward to the following discussions on how TCI, along with complementary policies, can be finalized to maximize impact and equity.” 

 

Coalition for Smarter Growth

“Our state, regional and local governments can take swift action through TCI to fund transit, affordable fares, transit-oriented development, and affordable housing near transit to maximize reduction in greenhouse gas emissions AND achieve social equity goals for affordable housing and transportation, and improved access to opportunity.”

 

Conservation Law Foundation

“The state agreement moves us toward greater regional collaboration on the climate crisis.” said Amy Laura Cahn, Director of Conservation Law Foundation’s Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice program. “Urgent and bold action is necessary to tackle the scourge of carbon emissions and jumpstart clean transportation options for New Englanders. And we need solutions that immediately focus on improving air quality for residents in pollution hotspots.”

 

Sarah Simon, New England Chapter Director, Environmental Entrepreneurs

“TCI will help all of us and our goods get from Point A to Point B better. Tax dollars fund roads and part of transit in Massachusetts transportation. Employers and commuters pay for fuel and vehicles in the $64b vehicle economy. including $4.6b for congestion. Time to invest in safe, healthier and modern transportation today for a thriving economy tomorrow. Let’s move forward.” 


 

Nancy Goodman, Vice President for Policy, Environmental League of Massachusetts

“With the disappointing international climate talks last week and the lack of federal leadership, it is all the more important that states make urgent progress on reducing climate-warming pollution. The proposed agreement released by the Northeast and MidAtlantic states today caps transportation pollution and starts reducing the impact from cars, trucks, and buses in our cities and towns.  We applaud the states for their collaboration and urge them to adopt the most ambitious targets and timeline going forward.”

 

Josh Silverman, CEO, Etsy

“Etsy strives to limit the negative impact that our operations have on the environment and even took the bold step of becoming the first global ecommerce marketplace to offset 100% of emissions from shipping. But climate change cannot be solved by any one person, company, or government body. Everyone needs to do their part and focus on this critical issue. That’s why we are excited by the prospect of system-wide solutions to tackle emissions from the transportation sector. We see collaborative solutions like the Transportation and Climate Initiative as a critical step in driving meaningful reductions in carbon emissions in the long term.” More…

 

Jim Judge, President and CEO, Chairman, Eversource

“As we work to meet the region’s aggressive carbon reduction goals, it is critical that we make the transportation sector – which is one of the leading contributors of greenhouse gas emissions—cleaner. We’re committed at Eversource to developing clean energy and innovative solutions that help decarbonize the transportation sector, and we look forward to working with state leaders to strengthen our electric vehicle infrastructure across the region.” More…

 

Joint statement by Exelon, National Grid, and PSEG

“The Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) Draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for establishing a cap-and-invest policy for transportation is an important and positive step in the ongoing work of lowering the largest source of carbon emissions throughout our region.  Clean transportation alternatives are increasingly available and investing in these advanced technologies is necessary to accelerate the pace of adoption. Our companies stand ready to provide abundant, clean, reliable electric service to meet the needs of electrically powered buses, trucks, cars, and other modes of mobility.

 

The cap-and-invest policy as described in the Draft MOU has the potential to accelerate innovative clean transportation technologies for the benefit of everyone.  We are especially heartened to see the that the Draft MOU rightly recognizes that the policy "… must ensure that the benefits of a cap-and-invest program flow equitably to communities that are underserved by clean transportation alternatives, disproportionately bear the costs of the current transportation system, or suffer disproportionate impacts of vehicular pollution and climate change.”   

 

We look forward to engaging constructively in the process of establishing the cap-and-invest program and urge the states to make its completion a high priority.”

 

Michelle Romero, National Director, Green For All

"It's a work in progress. States are still figuring out how to design this program in a way that meets the needs of the region's disproportionately impacted communities. That's why Green For All delivered a robust toolkit to states last week with detailed recommendations for how to do this right."

 

Kenny Esser, VP, Chief of Staff, Hackensack Meridian Health

“A cleaner transportation future, such as electrification of the transportation sector, is not only critical to the long-term health of the planet but will also directly benefit the local air quality in many of our communities. The sooner we can transition to electric vehicles, the sooner we can improve air quality thereby reducing asthma rates, and really begin to build a sustainable future.” More…

 

Health Care Without Harm

“Pollution from the transportation sector has a profound impact on both acute and chronic health outcomes. Populations at increased risk from death and disease such as communities of color, the elderly, and young children already bear a disproportionate burden from these emissions and they are the least able to prepare for the effects of a changing climate. The proposed enhancements to our transportation systems can improve the health of our communities while reducing the cost of health care delivery. We at Health Care Without Harm endorse this proposal and urge the participating jurisdictions to maximize health benefits by establishing the most ambitious cap possible.”

 

Steven Moelk, Fulfillment Project Implementation Manager, IKEA US

“Transportation impacts our business, our customers and supply chain everyday. That’s why we are committed to driving a clean transportation future with 100% of our home deliveries made in zero emission vehicles by 2025. As a business with operations across the region, IKEA sees TCI’s collaborative policy approach as an effective solution to improving our transportation system, expanding access to electric vehicles and curbing pollution throughout the region.” More…

 

Suzanne McDowell, Vice President of Social Responsibility and Sustainability, King Arthur Flour

“King Arthur Flour Company applauds the region’s leaders for prioritizing innovative policy solutions to curb transportation emissions. The opportunity to invest in electric vehicle infrastructure, provide rural communities with more efficient and clean transportation solutions, and combat climate change makes this proposal a win-win. Vermont and the entire region have a lot to gain by accelerating our transition to clean transportation—and this policy proposal is an important first step to making that happen.” More...

 

League of Women Voters of Massachusetts

"A sustainable future and improved public health require tackling tailpipe emissions, the largest source of air pollution and carbon emissions in Massachusetts. The League of Women Voters supports a robust and equitable Transportation & Climate Initiative plan and thanks Governor Baker for his leadership on this issue."

 

Robert Reynolds, Massachusetts Competitive Partnership Chairman, President and CEO of Putnam Investments

"We applaud Gov. Baker for tackling our regional transportation emissions challenges with a cap-and-trade solution. TCI will reduce carbon pollution and create transportation revenues that can be reinvested in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including our public transit system.” More…

 

Sue Ely, Clean Energy Policy Advocate & Staff Attorney, Natural Resources Council of Maine

“Getting around a state as large as Maine can be more difficult than it needs, leaving people feeling stuck without good choices. TCI is our region’s best opportunity to give people a wider range of options that are more affordable, reliable, and reduce pollution. By actively participating in TCI, Maine can ensure solutions like clean cars and trucks, expanded transit, safer bike and pedestrian infrastructure, meet the needs of both rural and urban populations.”

 

Bruce Ho, Senior Advocate, Climate & Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

“A dozen eastern states and the city of Washington, D.C. are taking a huge step forward in fixing our region's broken transportation system. They foresee making much-needed investments so the region's communities will become more prosperous and livable, cleaner and healthier. They plan to upgrade the transportation system to be less polluting, and more efficient and affordable for millions of people. This is visionary.” Read Bruce Ho’s full statement...

 

Mark Kresowik, Eastern Region Deputy Director, Sierra Club

"In the face of the Trump Administration’s disastrous attempts to pump the brakes on cleaning up transportation across the nation, we applaud these states for working together on a regional approach to reduce transportation emissions and invest in solutions to move us away from our outdated, dirty, health-harming status quo. We urge the states to finalize limits that are actually consistent with their climate commitments, and invest in and with communities most over-burdened and under-resourced." 

 

Tesla, Inc.

"We look forward to participating as the Transportation & Climate Initiative proceeds to the next phase of its program design. We applaud the bipartisan set of elected leaders and their staff for working together to tackle the most pressing issue facing our communities and the planet."

 

Anthony Cherolis, Transport Hartford Coordinator, Transport Hartford Academy at the Center for Latino Progress

“A Transportation and Climate Initiative with aggressive goals is critical for Connecticut to meet our mandated 2030 state level greenhouse gas emission reduction goal.  We all benefit from reduced pollution and a survivable planet. Sustainable, equitable transportation systems must be the future and will be the cornerstone of the region’s green economy, starting right now at this zero hour.”

 

Chris Dempsey, Director, Transportation for Massachusetts

"TCI is an innovative, bipartisan, regional solution that will address multiple challenges. We applaud Governor Baker’s leadership in advancing this important public policy initiative that will improve the lives of people in every corner of the Commonwealth who use our transportation system, breath the air, or care about climate change. This agreement will stand as a model for the rest of the nation."

 

Lauren Bailey, Director of Climate Policy, Tri-State Transportation Campaign

"As advocates for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, we are excited that TCI is moving forward. We will continue to be part of conversations around strong investments in transit, clean air for environmental justice communities, and infrastructure to support walking and biking. TCI gives the whole region the opportunity to create unprecedented investments and we look forward to all the good it will do.”

 

Kenneth Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

“At a time when the climate crisis is more urgent than ever, the Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states are rising to the challenge. If the states proceed with these policies, they’ll significantly reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector, the largest source of carbon emissions in the region, improve public health and make transportation cleaner, more affordable and more reliable. Today’s memorandum of understanding offers us a path forward, putting a program in place that states can continue to review and build on.” Read the full statement... 

 

Matt Casale,Transportation Campaign Director, U.S. PIRG

“People are fed up with the way transportation is working -- or isn’t working -- for them. Our everyday experiences are constant reminders of the problem -- whether it’s waiting too long for a bus, squeezing into an overcrowded train, sitting in hours of traffic, or overpaying at the pump for a long commute because there’s no better option. People want modern, reliable, affordable and clean options to get where they need to go. Fortunately, the same fixes that are going to make getting around more pleasant will also tackle climate emissions and improve air quality. The Transportation and Climate Initiative has great potential, but only if the program is designed with a strong enough limit on pollution and if the resulting investments are directed towards building a zero-carbon transportation system. We urge the states to move forward with the strictest possible limits on pollution and guarantees that investment proceeds will move us toward a modern, zero-carbon transportation network for the region.” More...

 

Jordan Giaconia, Public Policy Manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR)

“Climate Change presents the greatest threat to the people and environments of Vermont, and climate action offers the greatest economic opportunity in Vermont history. VBSR members recognize our profound shared responsibility to take urgent action. In order to meet our climate goals we need an innovative answer to the problem of pollution from transportation. A strong, equitable Transportation & Climate Initiative will advance clean transportation alternatives while prioritizing low- and moderate-income communities for investment, bringing Vermont’s most vulnerable along in our climate future.” More...

 

Robb Kidd, Conservation Program Manager, Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club

“In the face of the Trump Administration’s disastrous attempts to pump the brakes on cleaning up transportation across the nation, we appreciate Governor Scott's participation in a regional approach to reduce transportation emissions and invest in solutions to move away from the outdated, dirty, health-harming status quo. We urge Governor Scott to act boldly as Vermont moves into the next step of the process to gather public input on the region-wide proposal. Setting a strong cap on emissions will ensure the multi-state initiative will raise the funding necessary for transformative investments in clean transportation in Vermont and beyond, serving communities overburdened by pollution and underserved by current transportation choices.” More…

 

Lauren Hierl, Executive Director, Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV)

“Transportation is Vermont’s leading contributor to climate pollution. The TCI framework – while only addressing a portion of the problem – is an important step forward in addressing this critical sector both here at home and across the region. We must be at the table and participating in this initiative, while also working to strengthen the program, and ensuring the money raised is spent in ways that help give more Vermonters – particularly low-income and rural Vermonters – better, more affordable, and less polluting transportation options.” More…

 

Dan Quinlan, Chair, Vermont Climate and Health Alliance (VCHA)

“As the urgent warnings coming from medical and health organizations across the planet demonstrate, Vermonters should be highly concerned about the fact that our greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 16% since 1990. By ensuring that the TCI program becomes a high impact program, Vermont can begin to address the largest contributor of carbon pollution from our state, helping to do our part to address this global health emergency.” More...

 

Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur, Director of Transportation Efficiency, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC)

“We know from years of experience that RGGI’s cap and invest program has worked to reduce emissions from electric generation. It’s time that we apply this proven solution to the transportation sector and invest revenue in programs that will reduce costs for Vermonters and provide more transportation options for rural residents and vulnerable communities.” More...

 

Johanna Miller, Energy and Climate Program Director, Vermont Natural Resources Council

“TCI offers the most promising opportunity we have to tackle the dangerously rising emissions from our carbon-intensive transportation sector. It’s essential that Vermont joins other states in making this collaborative commitment, participating in and working to strengthen the program to create a 21st transportation system that serves all Vermonters – in particular low-income and rural Vermonters – with less polluting, affordable transportation options.”

 

Ben Edgerly Walsh, Climate and Energy Program Director, Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG)

“This opportunity to invest in solutions that both cut climate pollution and save Vermonters money on transportation is worth pursuing. No single action is going to be sufficient to put us on track to hit Vermont’s climate commitments, but this would clearly be a step in the right direction.” More…

 

David Worthen, CEO, Worthen Industries

"As a manufacturer with operations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Virginia, Worthen Industries understands the critical role transportation plays in the region’s economy. By working together, the region’s governors are seizing the opportunity to further tackle the challenges of climate change and transform our transportation system into a more modern, electrified and efficient system." More…