Massachusetts Among First to Join TCI

A group of leading Massachusetts business and environmental organizations joined together today to re-affirm their endorsement of the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) and applaud Governor Baker’s leadership in developing the landmark regional program designed to reduce pollution and upgrade the state’s transportation infrastructure.  TCI will be an important element of our state’s green and equitable economic recovery from COVID-19.

Governor Baker was joined by leaders from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) committing them to TCI and a set of principles for implementing it. Many additional states also submitted a strong statement of support for continuing to work collaboratively to develop the TCI model rule.

TCI works by placing a regional cap on total pollution from tailpipe emissions. Companies that sell and distribute motor vehicle fuels in the participating states will purchase allowances based on emissions. Proceeds from the sale of allowances are sent back to the states, where they will be invested in clean transportation options. Transportation is the single-largest source of climate pollution in the Commonwealth.

“Although the pandemic and addressing the public health and economic fallout from it has to be our top priority, we cannot lose sight of Massachusetts’ long-term transportation and environmental goals. TCI is still an important collaboration for making progress on both that deserves our attention and support.” Says Eileen McAnneny, President of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

“Climate change and transportation infrastructure continue to be important issues for the state’s long-term competitiveness and key tools in addressing racial, health and other societal inequalities,” said JD Chesloff, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable. “The potential of TCI to make progress in these areas is encouraging and we look forward to seeing additional details and working with stakeholders to help shape this initiative over the next few years.”

“TCI utilizes a proven mechanism to protect our environment, stimulate our economy, and improve public health. This agreement demonstrates that climate change need not be a partisan issue nor a point of contention between the business and environmental communities,” said Elizabeth Turnbull Henry, President of the Environmental League of Massachusetts. “COVID-19 has highlighted the serious health consequences of pollution and poor air quality. We applaud Governor Baker for his early and effective leadership in making TCI a reality.”

“NAIOP Massachusetts, The Commercial Real Estate Development Association, recognizes that all sectors of the economy need to work together to reduce carbon emissions. TCI is an innovative tool that will have a measurable impact on the Commonwealth’s goal of net zero by 2050, while also creating a new mechanism for funding transportation infrastructure improvements, which are critical to our economic recovery and climate future,” said Tamara Small, CEO of NAIOP Massachusetts. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Baker-Polito administration as well as a broad coalition of business and environmental groups as this advances.”

“We commend Governor Baker for his leadership moving TCI to this critical point in the development process. Major investors and companies have made it clear that they see TCI as a valuable tool to both tackle transportation emissions and revitalize state economies at a time when they need it most. We look forward to continued collaboration with the governor and his peers throughout the region to ensure the program is implemented in a way that benefits all communities, especially those who have suffered on the frontlines of vehicle pollution.” — Anne Kelly, Vice President of Government Affairs at Ceres.