Blue states are working together to cut carbon emissions from transit

  • Published on January 10th, 2019

Washington, D.C., Virginia, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont are working together to formulate a policy proposal to reduce transportation carbon emissions. The point of the collective effort is to reduce air pollution, improve transportation to underserved people and develop economic opportunities.

Hydrogen powered train


The collaborators have a goal to generate the low-carbon regional policy in one year, after which they can decide if they are going to adopt it.

In a recent statement, the Transportation and Climate Initiative wrote, “Emissions from transportation account for the largest portion of the region’s carbon pollution and a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that ambitious reductions are needed within the next decade to avoid dangerous impacts to public health, infrastructure, and the environment.”

All the states participating in the policy development are members of the TCI, as is DC. The work of the TCI is also supported by the Georgetown Climate Center.

“With the approximately 40% of our greenhouse gas emissions coming from the transportation sector, we must accelerate our transition to a low-carbon transportation future. By signing onto the TCI commitment, Connecticut and the region are taking an important step forward to help protect the health and safety of our residents. Over the next year we will work closely with our regional partners to design a proposal that can be adopted by our states and implemented regionally.  I am confident this will put us on a path to not only decarbonize our transportation networks, but significantly improve them as well,” said Rob Klee, Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Transportation was the largest source of US greenhouse gas emissions in the year 2016, according to Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks 1990–2016.

Trump’s view from the beginning has been to weaken vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, so combining forces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions appears to be both prudent and sensible for these states and the District of Columbia.

It isn’t known currently what the details of their policy will be, but at least they are attempting to do something constructive in their own areas.

Some general transportation ideas which came from two researchers who are not involved in the TCI policy work are: 

“Converting fixed pricing mechanisms for car insurance to pay-as-drive-and-you-save (PAYDAYS), which charge people a variable rate, based upon how many miles they drive. Requiring employers who provide free parking for their employees to implement parking cash-out programs, which provides an equivalent cash incentive to employees who do not drive alone to work. Converting fixed-percentage sales taxes on new vehicle purchases to mileage-based taxes spread over a three-year period.”

The researchers are Allen Greenberg and John Evans.

(Originally appeared at our sister-site, Cleantechnica.)

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