Residents of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states know that our transportation system—the way we move people and goods in the region—is broken. From traffic jams to air pollution, crumbling infrastructure, and delayed buses and trains, we all have our transportation tales of woe. Motor vehicle exhaust is also the region’s—and the nation’s—number one source of the carbon pollution driving climate change.
The good news? The governors of several Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the mayor of Washington, D.C. are working together to develop a plan to solve these challenges. On Tuesday, April 30, they’ll provide a preview of their plans at a public workshop in Boston. (For those who can’t attend in person, the workshop will also be livestreamed online. The livestream detail will be posted here at 8 am on Tuesday.)
This workshop will be the first public meeting since nine states—Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Vermont—and D.C. committed in December to develop a regional clean transportation policy by the end of 2019. These states are part of the Transportation and Climate Initiative, or TCI, which also includes New York, New Hampshire and Maine.
Responding to Public Demand
Last year, the TCI states held a series of public listening sessions across the region, which revealed broad support for cleaning up and modernizing transportation, including through improved and expanded public transportation options; more affordable and equitable transit-oriented development and housing; greater access to clean, electric vehicles, including electric buses; and investments to make communities more walkable and bikeable.
Tuesday’s workshop will explore how to get there. As the agenda makes clear, to tackle transportation, the states are looking to build on the significant progress many of them have already made in cleaning up and modernizing the power sector together. That pioneering regional effort has helped slash pollution from power plants in half, grown the economy, created thousands of new jobs, lowered utility bills, and scaled up investments in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency over the last decade.
By building on the best aspects of this model, the states have an opportunity to create a regional transportation system that delivers better, more equitable outcomes, improves transportation options, and cleans up the air.
Our Transportation Future
With the public launch of their policy development process on Tuesday, the states are taking an important step forward. In the months ahead, they will hold additional workshops with opportunities for public comment, and it will be critical for them to hear from residents and businesses about the need to secure a clean and modern transportation future that works better for everyone.
For more details on this process and how to stay informed and get involved, I encourage you to visit a new website from Our Transportation Future, a coalition of leading environmental, health, scientific, transportation, and business organizations, including NRDC. Our coalition is engaging in the TCI discussions to ensure they result in a regional policy that will transform our decaying, unworkable, and outdated transportation system into a model for the nation that gets people in rural, suburban, and urban communities where they need to go safely, more efficiently, and with less exposure to harmful pollution.
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A new report from twelve Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and Washington, D.C. shows that residents are clamoring for clean and modern transportation solutions. States in the region are gearing up to do something about it.
After a series of public listening sessions across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region, the message is clear: the region’s businesses and residents overwhelmingly support efforts to clean up and modernize our transportation system—the way we move people and goods across the region.