Nine governors, D.C. mayor reach bipartisan agreement to cut transportation pollution

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Morgan Hayward

Former Director, Destination: Zero Carbon, Environment America Research & Policy Center

Northeast and Mid-Atlantic take aim at number one source of global warming pollution

Environment America

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic governors, and the mayor of Washington, D.C., announced details of an ambitious, visionary program aimed at capping carbon pollution from the transportation sector. Over the next year, the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) will design a regional, low-carbon transportation policy proposal using a cap-and-invest program or other pricing mechanism, and allow each jurisdiction to invest proceeds into low-carbon and more resilient transportation infrastructure.

“We need to accelerate the transition to zero-emission cars, and that means getting charging infrastructure on the ground in our communities as soon as possible. With an absence of leadership at the federal level, state and local action is more important than ever,” said Morgan Folger, Director of the Clean Car Communities campaign for Environment America, “At the end of the day, nobody wants more pollution, so we should be doing everything we can to make it easier for Americans to drive clean, electric cars.”

Emissions from our cars, buses and trucks have overtaken electric power plants as the number one source of global warming emissions in the United States. Our nation’s top scientists warned recently in the update to the National Climate Assessment that regions across the country are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. If we keep burning fossil fuels, those impacts — from massive wildfires to extreme weather — will get worse.

Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, D.C. all joined the regional collaboration.

“The Hogan Administration remains committed to making progress on combating climate change and to exploring innovative solutions to our environmental challenges,” said Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles.

“Joining the Transportation and Climate Initiative is yet another step forward for New Jersey to reduce the harmful effects of climate change and global warming on our state, where emissions from the transportation sector account for more than 70 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions and more than 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions,” New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “New Jersey looks forward to joining with other states to lead the call to action for putting public health and the environment first.”

“We applaud the governors for recognizing that we have no time left to dither on cutting carbon pollution,” said Andrea McGimsey, Senior Director of Global Warming Solutions for Environment America. “This bipartisan cooperation will enable us to electrify and clean our transportation system, and help us avoid the worst impacts of global warming.”

“We look forward to engaging in the TCI with our members and supporting this strong action by these visionary governors,” concluded Folger. “Clean cars are the future.”