CLF Applauds New Regional Transportation Climate Initiative

Stakeholders See a Promising Model in RGGI’s Successful “Cap-and-Invest” Approach

BOSTON AND BONN – November 13, 2017 – Leading environmental, health, scientific and business organizations today applauded the announcement by seven states and Washington, D.C. of plans to develop a regional policy to reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector.

The announcement by Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont was made during the Bonn Climate Change Summit.

All of the states in question have years of experience with what is known as the “cap-and-invest” model through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) for power plant emissions. In the eight years since RGGI arrived on the scene, carbon pollution from power plants has fallen by 40 percent, while the program has simultaneously saved consumers money, increased economic growth, created jobs and improved public health.

One possible path for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states would be to adopt a program similar to RGGI for an upgraded and cleaner transportation system. The cap-and-invest model would provide funding and incentives to: accelerate adoption of electric cars, trucks and buses; expand public transit and ride sharing; and build walkable, bikeable and transit-oriented communities accessible to all residents. These solutions can mean fewer delays, safer travel, reduced health and climate impacts, and, just as importantly, more jobs and a more equitable transportation system that benefits everyone, including those who need help the most. It is estimated that a RGGI-like approach would cut transportation climate pollution by 40 percent, create more than 100,000 new jobs and put $14.4 billion in families’ pockets – all by 2030.

Phelps Turner, staff attorney, Conservation Law Foundation, said: “Transportation is the single largest source of climate-disrupting emissions that pollute our air and threaten our health. And with a federal government that refuses to act on climate change, it’s more critical than ever that local leaders step up. Today’s announcement demonstrates a firm commitment to expanding the proven RGGI model and ensuring that the future of transportation is safe, affordable and clean.”

CLF experts are available for further comment.