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Public Support for Program to Cut Pollution/Modernize Transportation in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States

 

“It’s a Big Hit!”: More Than 9 Out of 10 Back Transportation & Climate Initiative

WASHINGTON, DC – February 28, 2019 – The message from residents of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to lawmakers couldn’t be clearer: The proposed Transportation & Climate Initiative cap-and-invest program to modernize transportation in the region is a winner. 

A strong 91 percent of public comments from 12 states and the District of Columbia support the Transportation & Climate Initiative’s policy, according to a review by the Our Transportation Future (OTF) coalition of the 8,308 public comments filed in the public portal since mid-December.

An improved regional transportation system would mean more electric cars and trucks and charging infrastructure, reliable mass transit, walkable and bikeable communities, less congestion and pollution, and increased investments in projects that connect everyone, including those in underserved and rural areas.

Speaking on behalf of OTF, Jordan Stutt, carbon program director, Acadia Center said: “For elected officials who have been waiting on the close of the comment period to gauge public sentiment, the outcome could not be clearer:  Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Americans want to fix our dirty and broken transportation system.  No amount of oil industry-funded propaganda will change the fact that there is overwhelming public support for the important goals of the Transportation & Climate Initiative. It’s a big hit.”

OTF reviewed the comments submitted through an online portal between December 17, 2019 (when the states released a draft memorandum of understanding) and 9 a.m. ET today (which had previously been announced as the target deadline date for comment submissions). The 12 states are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

A sampling of comments from the public includes:

“...People in northern New England would be willing to utilize affordable public transportation if it was an option. Connecting the mid-Atlantic would also increase people's ability to travel and spend money in other states, which would ultimately boost the economy. Lastly, it would allow people with medical conditions, disabilities or other impairments to access more services in a greater area because there would be accessible and affordable public transportation. Please consider funding this project and allowing residents in even some of the most rural areas to be able to access public transportation ...”

  • Alexandra Sturtevant, Portland, ME

“We need to focus on reducing pollution from transportation for climate sake, as well as to ensure our communities are livable.  Maryland should formally join the plan to reduce emissions and should take important actions to ensure the protection of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  Any transportation policy should prioritize clean investments and should assist those areas that don't have access to clean investments.  I appreciate the bipartisan creation of this policy and stress the need for regions to move forward, especially at a time when our federal government seems to be reversing course.”

  • Ed Trever, Silver Spring, MD

“As a member of the Republican party, I strongly support the Transportation and Climate Initiative. I have grandchildren, and I want them to live long, happy lives, where they don't have to worry about the status of our planet. I want them to have clean air to breathe and safe water to drink. Even though this program may raise gas prices, I think what we have to gain from doing so is more important than a few extra dollars spent. I think this is a relatively conservative approach to climate change, and is a market-based solution, which I appreciate as a conservative. I think that New York should join TCI, and that other states should consider joining as well.”

  • Paulette Arena, Rochester, NY

“I strongly support the TCI and hope that it is implemented. Not only will it help to address emissions from the transportation sector (the largest source of emissions in Massachusetts and across the region), but it will also raise funds that are desperately [sic] needed to upgrade public transportation as well as to transition to being powered by 100% clean renewable energy…”

  • Logan Malik, Great Barrington, MA

“TCI is a once in a generation opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and re-invest funds to much needed transit improvements, including safe and reliable public transportation, electric vehicle infrastructure, and ‘Complete Streets’ for bikers and pedestrians. Unreliable transit is taking time residents should be spending at work or with their families. Those without choices have to drive and the resulting traffic congestion is further damaging our environment, public health, and quality of life. Please choose the most aggressive greenhouse gas emissions cap. Please make sure the [sic] TCI policy has equity and investment in overburdened and under-served communities as a first and foremost priority.”
            - Sara Holmes, Chester, CT

Members of the public were asked to weigh in with their support or opposition to the draft policy via a comment portal organized by the Georgetown Climate Center by February 28th. 

Our Transportation Future is a coalition of 74 local, regional, and national organizations committed to modernizing transportation across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. OTF is focused on improving our transportation system -- the ways we move people and goods in the region – to spur economic growth, make us healthier and safer, clean up the environment, and improve our quality of life.

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