December 11, 2019

Governor Baker Addresses MA Senior Executives on Benefits of Transportation & Climate Initiative

Today, Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack, and Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs Katie Theoharides spoke to over 200 senior business executives from a diverse array of industries across Massachusetts about the benefits of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). The discussion was hosted by Bank of America.

The event was convened by an uncommon alliance of environmental and business groups united by the once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernize and decarbonize the Massachusetts transportation system–The Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Ceres, The Environmental League of Massachusetts, the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, The Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, The Massachusetts Business Roundtable, and The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. These groups believe that, if properly structured, policy created through TCI could: mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from transportation; invest in much-needed public transit; alleviate congestion; and generate a revenue stream to fund these and future transportation improvements.

We invited the Baker Administration to educate business members about TCI’s potential to support much-needed infrastructure investment and decarbonization. Transportation is responsible for 40% of MA’s greenhouse gas emissions, making it our single biggest source. To meet mandatory greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction requirements, tackling transportation emissions will be critical as this sector’s GHGs continue to rise.

TCI is a regional collaboration of over a dozen Northeast and mid-Atlantic states that would set a declining cap on regional transportation emissions and issue a fee on fuel imports to fund system improvements. The 13 jurisdictions have released a framework for a policy proposal and a draft memorandum of understanding is expected later this month. TCI uses market-based policies that have been proven effective in reducing other environmental pollution problems, such as acid rain, and is modeled on the ongoing success of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI has reduced carbon emissions from energy generators across the participating states by 35% while providing more than $2.5 billion in proceeds, which Massachusetts has used successfully on energy efficiency and other complimentary energy policies. We now have the chance to do the same with transportation. The hosting organizations look forward to continuing these conversations as TCI takes shape and anxiously await the policy proposal that will be released later this month.

In his remarks the Governor highlighted our need to move away from fossil fuels and urged business executives not to underestimate the power of regional collaboration.

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