- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Media Contact for Commonwealth Joins Regional States to Reduce Transportation Emissions
BOSTON — As part of a continuing effort to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that the Commonwealth today joined 8 states and the District of Columbia in releasing an agreement to work together over the next year to develop the framework for a regional program to address greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. The announcement follows the recent release of the Commission on the Future of Transportation’s two-part report on transportation needs and challenges facing Massachusetts which includes recommendations to prepare the state’s transportation network for 2040, and collaborate with regional partners to develop a carbon pricing mechanism to cap emissions and invest revenue back within the state.
“As the transportation sector is the largest contributor to carbon emissions in the Commonwealth, reducing transportation emissions is imperative to combating the causes of climate change and meeting Massachusetts’ aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration looks forward to building upon the work of our Commission on the Future of Transportation and statewide climate change and transportation listening tour by proactively collaborating with other states to develop a regional approach to addressing this vital climate issue.”
“Today’s announcement is the latest step in an important dialogue with our neighboring states to make our cities and towns more resilient to climate change by tackling a significant source of our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The work that lies ahead will not only develop a policy proposal to reduce emissions, but also ensure equity across demographics and protect our state’s most vulnerable populations.”
Through the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), a program of the Georgetown Climate Center, Massachusetts will work with the other member states that have joined the agreement over the course of 2019 to study the feasibility of a potential program that would reduce climate changing pollution, create economic opportunity, and improve transportation equity for currently underserved and overburdened populations. At the conclusion of the policy development process, all member states will decide whether to adopt and implement the policy. The announcement of the partnership follows extensive stakeholder engagement which included four listening sessions held across the Commonwealth, after which six regional listening sessions were conducted to solicit feedback in order to gather ideas and information on how best to approach a regional program.
“Reducing emissions in the transportation sector requires a collaborative approach, and the Commonwealth is proud to partner with Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to pursue a potential program to further mitigate the impacts of climate change, protect the health of our residents, and build a more resilient and sustainable transportation system for the next generation,” said Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Commonwealth continues to lead the nation on climate change, and we look forward to working with our regional partners towards policies and strategies that will lead to carbon emissions reductions from the transportation sector.”
In addition to the Commonwealth, states endorsing the plan include Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, DC.
“The transportation sector is key to reducing carbon emissions, and Massachusetts looks forward to working with its partner states across the Northeast on this very important regional initiative,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The Commonwealth has been a leader on these issues since the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act, but there is much work to be done and this is a key step forward.”
The work of the Commonwealth as part of the agreement will be performed in conjunction with various other efforts that the Baker-Polito Administration is undertaking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fulfill Massachusetts’ requirement under the Global Warming Solutions Act.
“These nine states and the District of Columbia inspire us all with this ambitious, regional, bi-partisan plan to tackle one of the biggest challenges—cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by transitioning to clean, reliable, affordable transportation,” said Ken Kimmell, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Were these states a country, it would be the world’s fifth-largest economy, just behind Germany, so this plan is at a scale to make a meaningful difference. These states help reassure an anxious world that the United States is still in the fight, while meeting the pressing needs of their residents who want clean, reliable, affordable transportation options. The Baker Polito Administration deserves our appreciation for moving forward on this tried and true approach to addressing climate change while growing the regional economy.”
“On behalf of our more than 70 transportation, environmental, and planning organizations, we applaud Governor Baker’s leadership in advancing the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) as part of his strategy to aggressively move Massachusetts away from the use of carbon fuels,” said Chris Dempsey, Director of Transportation for Massachusetts. “Transportation has become the largest source of carbon emissions in Massachusetts, polluting our air and exacerbating health problems such as asthma. TCI is a regional, market-based policy based on the proven Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which has reduced emissions in the electricity sector while strengthening our economy and generating resources for programs like the popular Mass Save. By joining 8 other states from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and the District of Columbia, in advancing TCI, Governor Baker has demonstrated the type of bipartisan, innovative, and reform-minded approach to complex problems for which he is known. We look forward to working with Governor Baker on an issue so important to the public health, environment, and economy of Massachusetts.”