Northeast Regional Transportation and Climate Initiative Letter

The Honorable Charles Baker
Office of the Governor
24 Beacon St
Boston, MA 02133

The Honorable Dan McKee
Office of the Governor
82 Smith Street
Providence, RI 02903

The Honorable Ned Lamont
Office of the Governor
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106


Add Your Voice

Dear Governors Baker, Lamont, and McKee,

We, the undersigned elected officials from across the region, are concerned about the health, prosperity, and resilience of the communities we represent. We thank you for your commitment to participate in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) program. We urge our state to fully commit to participating to bring urgently-needed annual investment dollars for sustainable infrastructure, increase clean transportation options, support jobs, and protect public health in our communities. Strong equity provisions will strengthen TCI and help advance environmental justice.

Thank you for your leadership in addressing the climate emergency and supporting the continued participation of our state in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI has generated more than $4 billion to invest in energy efficiency and clean energy to reduce power-sector emissions. Ongoing RGGI funding has been an important revenue source to help achieve our climate goals. TCI is a similar cap and invest program, but with a strong commitment to the needs of communities overburdened by air pollution and underserved by transportation options. Included in the MOU is a commitment by the TCI Program Signatory Jurisdictions to invest no less than 35% of their annual program proceeds to benefit communities overburdened by transportation pollution and underserved by the current transportation system. We urge jurisdictions to follow the lead of the Connecticut legislature’s Environment Committee and endorse a 50 percent investment to overburdened communities.

As we build back better from the pandemic and economic crisis, investing in a clean, affordable, and efficient transportation sector will reduce our pollution, increase economic opportunity, and help drive our recovery. In his American Jobs Plan, President Biden has proposed a $174 billion transportation infrastructure plan. Yet, our states will continue to need sustainable clean transportation funding, annually.

TCI will generate as much as $3 billion over the next decade to invest in clean transportation infrastructure in our communities across the region. Building on and complementing RGGI, TCI will be a substantial new annual source to realize needed clean transportation projects in local communities. This can include, but is not limited to, transit, local bicycle and walkway projects, electric vehicle infrastructure, Safe Routes to School, and Safe Routes to Transit

TCI will reduce pollution, make our communities cleaner and greener, and improve public health. According to a Harvard study, if all participating jurisdictions implement the program, the region can reduce transportation emissions by 25%, prevent more than 1,360 pollution-related deaths, and generate up to $13.5 billion in savings from avoided health costs by 2032.

With our states mandating at least 80% to 100% carbon emission reductions by 2050, the Northeast has emerged as a national leader in transitioning away from harmful fossil fuels to a fully clean energy economy. However, the transportation sector remains our highest source of emissions, producing 43% of greenhouse gas pollution in Massachusetts, 38% in Connecticut, and 36% in Rhode Island. 

Yet, stopping the pollution from our transportation sector is clearly within our power to change. Global emissions fell by 17%  during pandemic lockdowns, with 43% of the decrease attributed to fewer cars, buses and trucks on the road. To meet our ambitious climate goals, we must make needed investments across the region to modernize our transportation infrastructure. 

Investments made possible by TCI will better prepare the Northeast for worsening climate crisis  impacts by making states more resilient with better infrastructure. Importantly, TCI will help advance the deployment of zero-emission vehicles, a critical step to achieve  a 100% clean energy future. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the urgency for transitioning to a clean transportation sector. A Harvard study found long-term air pollution exposure was a major contributor to deaths from COVID-19, compounding the crisis. With this heightened exposure to pollution, people who live in communities near industrial sites that emit air toxins, and highways, continue to be more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19. These are primarily communities of color, and low income.

Strengthening health, prosperity, and resiliency in communities of color and economically marginalized communities must be central to any transportation investment program. We urge our states to support a series of complementary policies to ensure that environmental justice principles are included in the implementation of TCI, such as increased air quality monitoring in high-traffic areas, establishing an oversight committee of community leaders from frontline communities, and ensuring equitable investments that benefit all. 

Each jurisdiction will designate an Equity and Environmental Justice Advisory Board with diverse representation and community involvement to advise on developing criteria to identify overburdened and underserved communities, provide recommendations for investments, and assist with developing metrics to evaluate the success of those investments. These are important first steps for ensuring environmental justice is a central focus of TCI.

Importantly, states can choose to use the generated revenue to invest in projects that create multiple benefits for our communities, such as clean transit near affordable housing, safer routes to schools, and climate-resilient infrastructure. The annual proceeds from TCI can make this possible.

The need for bold, science-based action to address the climate emergency has never been clearer. Implementing a cap-and-invest program for the transportation sector will help the region rebuild our economy, clean our air, and address the disproportionate impacts too many communities bear. 

We stand ready to work with you to build a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous future for all.  

Sincerely yours,

Members, Elected Officials to Protect America

Raghib Allie-BrennanGregg AmoreKendra AndersonChris AndersonCharles Ausburger
State RepresentativeState RepresentativeState SenatorAlderCouncilor
District 02District 065District 31New BritainMansfield
ConnecticutRhode IslandRhode IslandConnecticutConnecticut
Pamela AzarBrittany BarneyDaniel BennettWildaliz BermudezThomas Bernard
CouncilorCouncilmemberSelect Board MemberCouncilmemberMayor
Lincoln District 4Bristol District 3DanversHartfordNorth Adams
Rhode IslandConnecticutMassachusettsConnecticutMassachusetts
Carol BlanksJordana BloomKenzie BokDarryl BrackeenJacob Brier
West HartfordNewtownBoston District 8New Haven Ward 26Barrington
ConnecticutConnecticutMassachusettsConnecticutRhode Island
Luke BroninJohn BurrowsShari CantorBrandon ChafeeFred Chase
MayorSelectmanMayorState RepresentativeCouncilor
HartfordBillericaWest HartfordDistrict 33Bridgewater Precinct 4
Christine CohenJulio ConcepcionBarry ConnellTerri CortvriendJoseph Curtatone
State SenatorState RepresentativeCouncillor-at-LargeState RepresentativeMayor
District 12District 4NewburyportDistrict 72Somerville
ConnecticutConnecticutMassachusettsRhode IslandMassachusetts
Mary Ellen Daly O'BrienMelissa DaRosaLucy DathanLeon DavidoffJames Demetriades
CouncillorCouncilmemberState RepresentativeDeputy MayorCouncilmember
HaverhillPawtucketDistrict 142West HartfordCromwell
MassachusettsRhode IslandConnecticutConnecticutConnecticut
Salem DerbyAlana DiMarioAnthony DonatoFrank DouglassAndreae Downs
CouncilorState SenatorCouncilor-at-LargeAlderCouncilor-at-Large
EasthamptonDistrict 36WatertownNew HavenNewton Ward 5
MassachusettsRhode IslandMassachusettsConnecticutMassachusetts
Jack EcclesJosh ElliottJorge ElorzaMary FayLeonela Felix
AlderState RepresentativeMayorCouncilmemberState Representative
MelroseDistrict 88ProvidenceWest HartfordDistrict 61
MassachusettsConnecticutRhode IslandConnecticutRhode Island
Rosa Ferraro-SantanaBen FlorsheimMary FortierKaren FortunatiCobi Frongillo
AlderMayorCouncilmemberCity ClerkTown Councilor
New Haven Ward 13MiddletownBristolMilfordFranklin
Elizabeth FuerteHenry GengaJillian GilchrestKimberly GlassmanLee Gold
CouncilmemberState RepresentativeState RepresentativeCouncilmemberCouncilmember
NewportDistrict 10District 18East Haven District 1West Hartford
Rhode IslandConnecticutConnecticutConnecticutConnecticut
Mitchell GoldblattJohn GoncalvesJoseph GreskoGregory HahnJoshua Hall
SelectmanCouncilmemberState RepresentativeCity CouncilmanState Representative
Town of OrangeProvidenceDistrict 121BristolDistrict 7
ConnecticutRhode IslandConnecticutConnecticutConnecticut
Melanie HamblenJohn HamptonWill HaskellBrandt HeckertConrad Heede
Town CouncilorState RepresentativeState SenatorCouncilmemberTown Council
FranklinDistrict 16District 26WarrenGroton
MassachusettsConnecticutConnecticutRhode IslandConnecticut
Jack HennessyDavid HeuvelmanTracey HonanValerie HorsleyAnne Hughes
RepresentativeCommon Council RepresentativeCouncilmemberCouncilmemberState Representative
District 127Norwalk District AWinthropHamden District 4District 135
Sonya JelksSusan JohnsonDominique JohnsonMeghan KallmanBeth Kerrigan
Majority Leader of the City CouncilState RepresentativeCommon Councilmember-at-LargeState SenatorCouncilmember
MeridenDistrict 49NorwalkDistrict 15West Hartford
ConnecticutConnecticutConnecticutRhode IslandConnecticut
Rickford KirtonRebecca KislakMatt KnickerbockerTristan LaLiberteRoland Lemar
Town CouncilorState RepresentativeFirst SelectpersonChair of SelectboardState Representative
BloomfieldDistrict 4BethelAuburnDistrict 96
ConnecticutRhode IslandConnecticutMassachusettsConnecticut
Matthew LesserAnn LetendreDavid MannDavid MartinKenneth McClary
State SenatorCouncilmemberDeputy MayorMayorTown Councilor
District 9VernonBloomfieldStamfordBloomfield
Brandon McGeeTom MercerDavid MichelRachel MillerSteven Morabito
State RepresentativeBoard ChairState RepresentativeCity CouncilorCouncillor-at-Large
District 5FranklinStamfordProvidence Ward 13Revere
ConnecticutMassachusettsConnecticutRhode IslandMassachusetts
David MoralesBetsy MoukawsherDawn NilesPatricia NolanEmily Norton
State RepresentativeTown ClerkTown Council ChairCity CouncillorCouncilor
District 7GrotonWindhamCambridgeNewton
Rhode IslandConnecticutConnecticutMassachusettsMassachusetts
Christine PalmTony PalombaSamantha PerlmanChris PeroneNicholas Priest
State RepresentativeCouncilor at-LargeCity Councilor at-LargeState RepresentativeSelect Board Member
District 36WatertownMarlboroughDistrict 137Town of Burlington
Geraldo ReyesMoises RodriguesCarmen RodriguezAbigail RothGeorge Rotondo
State RepresentativeCity CouncillorAlderAlderCity Councilor-at-Large
District 75City of BrocktonNew Haven Ward 6New Haven Ward 7Revere
Eli SabinKathleen SchomakerSumbul SiddiquiJulie Smith-GalvinBarbara Smyth
AlderCouncilmemberMayorTown CouncilorCommon Council-at-Large
New Haven Ward 1Hamden District 6CambridgeWakefield, MANorwalk
Anna SousaSamantha SquailiaJonathan SteinbergAdam SteinerLiam Sweeney
CouncilmemberCity Councilor-at-LargeState RepresentativeCity CouncilorCouncilmember
Ward 2FitchburgDistrict 136FraminghamWest Hartford
Rhode IslandMassachusettsConnecticutMassachusettsConnecticut
Miriam TherouxTimothy ToomeyAwet TsegaiDennis TuranoEdwin Vargas
Town CouncilorCouncillorCouncilmemberCouncilmemberState Representative
Rocky HillCambridgeEast HartfordMiddletownDistrict 06
ConnecticutMassachusettsConnecticutRhode IslandConnecticut
Jessica VegaBen WenogradChris WilliamsStephen WinslowSteven Winter
Council PresidentCouncilmemberCouncilmemberCouncillorAlder
Central FallsWest HartfordWest HartfordMaldenNew Haven Ward 21
Rhode IslandConnecticutConnecticutMassachusettsConnecticut
Quinton Zondervan    

*Titles reflect elected position at the time of signing.