Five Northeast states and Washington, D.C., have announced that they will work together to build on current efforts and develop potential market-based policies to further cut greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions and other pollution from the transportation sector.
According to a new study from the Georgetown Climate Center and Cambridge Systematics, developing such policies will add to the momentum created by the participating states’ successful clean energy programs and will create positive economic benefits, in addition to the environmental impacts.
In a press release, the Georgetown Climate Center says governors from Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as the mayor of the District of Columbia, have vowed to collaborate on the new policies through the existing Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). The TCI is a collaboration of 12 Northeast and mid-Atlantic jurisdictions that have been working to develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector since 2010.
Regarding the new agreement, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell says, “[R]educing emissions from transportation remains a stubborn challenge, not only for greenhouse gases but also for other pollutants that cause air quality problems. We have taken some good steps, such as offering incentives to buy electric and natural-gas-fueled vehicles, installing charging and fueling stations, and investing in innovations to create smart transportation infrastructure. But we will need to do more to make a significant difference.”
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser says, “Transportation contributes more than 20 percent of the district’s carbon emissions, and the majority of every dollar we spend on gas leaves the district. That’s not good for our economy, and it’s not good for the environment. Shifting to cleaner transportation options means keeping more of that money right here at home, leading to more jobs and better air quality.”
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy adds, “We will work with our regional partners and share details on the progress we are making in Connecticut by improving our transportation infrastructure to speed the flow of traffic and reduce congestion, and offering new and appealing public transit options. We’re also implementing forward-thinking initiatives that encourage greater use of zero- and low-emissions vehicles.”
The Georgetown Climate Center says the announcement coincides with the release of its new report, which finds that clean transportation policies could cut carbon pollution between 29% and 40% in the TCI region by 2030. According to the report, a comprehensive implementation of these policies by TCI states could bring net cost savings of up to $72.5 billion over 15 years for businesses and consumers, along with tens of thousands of new jobs and improvements in public health.
The report analyzes policies and resulting benefits and costs for the 11 Northeast and mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that participate in the TCI.
“This analysis shows that significant progress in curbing pollution from the transportation sector is not only possible, it would also provide net economic benefits,” says Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center. “The transportation sector is the largest source of emissions in this region, yet states have many options to reduce this pollution significantly while growing their economies.”
According to the Georgetown Climate Center, key findings from the analysis include the following:
– Existing federal and state policies will achieve significant transportation emission reductions of about 29% by 2030 from 2011 levels, but additional policies are needed to achieve greater cuts and to meet previous long-term state commitments to reduce GHG emissions economy-wide in the Northeast.
– Additional clean transportation investments in clean vehicles, reduced traffic congestion, freight rail and shipping, transit, efficient land-use policies, and cycling and walking would help states in the region reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from transportation by 31% to 39% by 2030 from 2011 levels.
– These investments would reduce oil consumption by 4% to 27% beyond what would be achieved by existing federal and state policies, as well as achieve public health benefits, such as reductions in premature deaths and asthma cases – valued at $114 million to $463 million in 2030 in current dollars.
– A transportation market-based program or pricing policy, such as an emissions budget program, carbon fee, or mileage-based user fee, would increase the range of emission reductions to 32% to 40% in 2030 and could generate proceeds to fund the transportation investments.
– A suite of clean transportation strategies funded by a transportation market-based program or pricing policy would create benefits for the region. Over 15 years, businesses would save $28.7 billion to $54.5 billion and consumers would save $3.6 billion to $18 billion. The report says these cost savings from reduced fuel consumption, congestion, and consumer incentives would more than offset increased vehicle costs and fees.
– Such changes would increase the gross regional product by $11.7 billion to $17.7 billion, increase personal disposable income by $9.4 billion to $14.4 billion, and create 91,000 to 125,000 new jobs.
The full report, entitled “Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation: Opportunities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic,” is available here.