Mid-Atlantic, northeast states partner to clean air, improve transportation, battle climate change

Transportation in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions could be well on its way to becoming less air-polluting. This could be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

An effort dubbed “Our Transportation Future” (OTF), the organizing enterprise showing its support, issued a multi-agency signed letter dated July 29, 2019, addressed to the governors of 12 East Coast states and the mayor of Washington, D.C., the contents of this piece of correspondence fully explaining the reason for the letter’s creation. The letter is a show of support for the governors-backed Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) program. (A portable document format (pdf) of the letter itself can be accessed here).

Port of New York and New Jersey

Support for TCI is indeed wide-ranging.

In a July 30, 2019 news release providing elaboration, OTF submitted: “Members of Our Transportation Future joined 300 state lawmakers, business leaders, transportation experts, and public figures in Baltimore, Maryland, today at a regional public workshop on developing low-carbon investment strategies and priorities for the Transportation & Climate Initiative, a regional partnership for clean transportation in Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. The OTF groups participating in today’s workshop announced a sign-on letter to the Governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia, and the mayor of Washington, D.C.”

OTF in the news release provided a key letter excerpt. That excerpt reads: “We recommend your leadership on TCI and support your efforts to develop a regional agreement to reduce transportation emissions. Transportation is the largest source of climate-changing pollution in the U.S., and a significant cause of unhealthy air that increases asthma attacks, cardiovascular problems, and respiratory illnesses. Driving represents over eighty percent of emissions from transportation and those emissions are growing despite cleaner fuels and more efficient vehicles because people are forced to make more frequent and longer trips. In addition to continuing to improve vehicle efficiency and increase electrification, we also need to make it easier for people to drive less by increasing clean, reliable and safe public transportation, and encouraging walking and biking. We believe an equitable and environmentally robust policy, designed through TCI, will be an important component of our shared vision.

“Our priorities for a regional policy include an agreement that the participating states will:

  • Promote more equitable outcomes, particularly for populations and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by air pollution and those with inadequate access to transportation and mobility.
  • Reduce vehicle pollution that contributes to unhealthy air quality and climate change;
  • Leverage transportation networks to create new economic opportunity for people, businesses, and communities;
  • Establish new – and enhance existing – sources of funding to accelerate investments in bikeways, pedestrian walkways, electric vehicle infrastructure, and improved public transit, including intercity rail; and
  • Foster policies that support sustainable, affordable, transit-oriented development and other land use decisions that reduce vehicle miles traveled.”

Such a program is obviously long overdue and a long time coming.

What has been outlined above is indeed comprehensive. And there are no bases here that are not covered, or so it would seem.

If the TCI movement is successful and gains significant traction and programs on the ground actually get followed through on, both air and transportation in the northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions will be much improved.

The TCI program can only grow out from there. The implications could be far-reaching.

The list of the Our Transportation Future coalition members pledging their support is in the July 30, 2019 news release as well.

More from the “Transportation News: Coalition of 59 Groups Voices Support for 12 Governors and Mayor of Washington, D.C. Developing Regional Transportation & Climate Initiative Policy” news release can be accessed here.

Image above: Captain Albert E. Theberge, NOAA Corps (ret.)

This post was last revised on Aug. 25, 2019 @ 9:55 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

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