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.
Members, Elected Officials to Protect America
|Raghib Allie-Brennan||Gregg Amore||Kendra Anderson||Chris Anderson||Charles Ausburger|
|State Representative||State Representative||State Senator||Alder||Councilor|
|District 02||District 065||District 31||New Britain||Mansfield|
|Connecticut||Rhode Island||Rhode Island||Connecticut||Connecticut|
|Pamela Azar||Brittany Barney||Daniel Bennett||Wildaliz Bermudez||Thomas Bernard|
|Councilor||Councilmember||Select Board Member||Councilmember||Mayor|
|Lincoln District 4||Bristol District 3||Danvers||Hartford||North Adams|
|Carol Blanks||Jordana Bloom||Kenzie Bok||Darryl Brackeen||Jacob Brier|
|West Hartford||Newtown||Boston District 8||New Haven Ward 26||Barrington|
|Luke Bronin||John Burrows||Shari Cantor||Brandon Chafee||Fred Chase|
|Hartford||Billerica||West Hartford||District 33||Bridgewater Precinct 4|
|Christine Cohen||Julio Concepcion||Barry Connell||Terri Cortvriend||Joseph Curtatone|
|State Senator||State Representative||Councillor-at-Large||State Representative||Mayor|
|District 12||District 4||Newburyport||District 72||Somerville|
|Mary Ellen Daly O'Brien||Melissa DaRosa||Lucy Dathan||Leon Davidoff||James Demetriades|
|Councillor||Councilmember||State Representative||Deputy Mayor||Councilmember|
|Haverhill||Pawtucket||District 142||West Hartford||Cromwell|
|Salem Derby||Alana DiMario||Anthony Donato||Frank Douglass||Andreae Downs|
|Easthampton||District 36||Watertown||New Haven||Newton Ward 5|
|Jack Eccles||Josh Elliott||Jorge Elorza||Mary Fay||Leonela Felix|
|Alder||State Representative||Mayor||Councilmember||State Representative|
|Melrose||District 88||Providence||West Hartford||District 61|
|Massachusetts||Connecticut||Rhode Island||Connecticut||Rhode Island|
|Rosa Ferraro-Santana||Ben Florsheim||Mary Fortier||Karen Fortunati||Cobi Frongillo|
|Alder||Mayor||Councilmember||City Clerk||Town Councilor|
|New Haven Ward 13||Middletown||Bristol||Milford||Franklin|
|Elizabeth Fuerte||Henry Genga||Jillian Gilchrest||Kimberly Glassman||Lee Gold|
|Councilmember||State Representative||State Representative||Councilmember||Councilmember|
|Newport||District 10||District 18||East Haven District 1||West Hartford|
|Mitchell Goldblatt||John Goncalves||Joseph Gresko||Gregory Hahn||Joshua Hall|
|Selectman||Councilmember||State Representative||City Councilman||State Representative|
|Town of Orange||Providence||District 121||Bristol||District 7|
|Melanie Hamblen||John Hampton||Will Haskell||Brandt Heckert||Conrad Heede|
|Town Councilor||State Representative||State Senator||Councilmember||Town Council|
|Franklin||District 16||District 26||Warren||Groton|
|Jack Hennessy||David Heuvelman||Tracey Honan||Valerie Horsley||Anne Hughes|
|Representative||Common Council Representative||Councilmember||Councilmember||State Representative|
|District 127||Norwalk District A||Winthrop||Hamden District 4||District 135|
|Sonya Jelks||Susan Johnson||Dominique Johnson||Meghan Kallman||Beth Kerrigan|
|Majority Leader of the City Council||State Representative||Common Councilmember-at-Large||State Senator||Councilmember|
|Meriden||District 49||Norwalk||District 15||West Hartford|
|Rickford Kirton||Rebecca Kislak||Matt Knickerbocker||Tristan LaLiberte||Roland Lemar|
|Town Councilor||State Representative||First Selectperson||Chair of Selectboard||State Representative|
|Bloomfield||District 4||Bethel||Auburn||District 96|
|Matthew Lesser||Ann Letendre||David Mann||David Martin||Kenneth McClary|
|State Senator||Councilmember||Deputy Mayor||Mayor||Town Councilor|
|Brandon McGee||Tom Mercer||David Michel||Rachel Miller||Steven Morabito|
|State Representative||Board Chair||State Representative||City Councilor||Councillor-at-Large|
|District 5||Franklin||Stamford||Providence Ward 13||Revere|
|David Morales||Betsy Moukawsher||Dawn Niles||Patricia Nolan||Emily Norton|
|State Representative||Town Clerk||Town Council Chair||City Councillor||Councilor|
|Christine Palm||Tony Palomba||Samantha Perlman||Chris Perone||Nicholas Priest|
|State Representative||Councilor at-Large||City Councilor at-Large||State Representative||Select Board Member|
|District 36||Watertown||Marlborough||District 137||Town of Burlington|
|Geraldo Reyes||Moises Rodrigues||Carmen Rodriguez||Abigail Roth||George Rotondo|
|State Representative||City Councillor||Alder||Alder||City Councilor-at-Large|
|District 75||City of Brockton||New Haven Ward 6||New Haven Ward 7||Revere|
|Eli Sabin||Kathleen Schomaker||Sumbul Siddiqui||Julie Smith-Galvin||Barbara Smyth|
|Alder||Councilmember||Mayor||Town Councilor||Common Council-at-Large|
|New Haven Ward 1||Hamden District 6||Cambridge||Wakefield, MA||Norwalk|
|Anna Sousa||Samantha Squailia||Jonathan Steinberg||Adam Steiner||Liam Sweeney|
|Councilmember||City Councilor-at-Large||State Representative||City Councilor||Councilmember|
|Ward 2||Fitchburg||District 136||Framingham||West Hartford|
|Miriam Theroux||Timothy Toomey||Awet Tsegai||Dennis Turano||Edwin Vargas|
|Town Councilor||Councillor||Councilmember||Councilmember||State Representative|
|Rocky Hill||Cambridge||East Hartford||Middletown||District 06|
|Jessica Vega||Ben Wenograd||Chris Williams||Stephen Winslow||Steven Winter|
|Central Falls||West Hartford||West Hartford||Malden||New Haven Ward 21|
*Titles reflect elected position at the time of signing.