Nine States, D.C. to Design Low-Carbon Transportation Policy Proposal

Organization expects to complete the policy proposal within the coming year.

December 20, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A group of nine governors and the mayor of Washington, D.C. have jointly announced plans to create a new regional low-carbon transportation policy proposal that would cap and reduce carbon emissions from the combustion of transportation fuels and then invest proceeds from the program into low-carbon and more resilient transportation infrastructure. They are part of the Transportation and Climate Initiative of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States (TCI), a regional collaboration that seeks to improve transportation and air quality.
Under the agreement, announced Tuesday, the states, which extend as far south as Virginia, have one year to develop a framework that caps the region’s overall transportation emissions and requires fuel distributors in those states to buy pollution permits for some of the carbon they produce.
Fuel industry insiders say this policy will be based on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which places a regional cap on CO2 emissions for the power sector and will result in the increased price of carbon (i.e. gas and diesel) over time.

According to the Boston Globe, in a cap and invest program, the companies that produce the pollution would be required to pay for what they emit. The price would likely rise as the amount that each company is allowed to produce would decline over time. One estimation predicts that the setup would cost motorists about $6 a month, if the costs are passed on to consumers. 

States would be required to use the money raised from the pollution permits (also known as allowances) for a range of transportation-related projects, including public transit, carpooling and driverless car services, subsidies to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, and new bike lanes.
In addition to reducing pollution, the new policy would be aimed at creating economic opportunity and improving transportation for underserved populations, the organization reported. While the plan calls for regional cooperation, each state may implement its own complementary policy and decide how proceeds are distributed. 
Along with D.C., states endorsing the plan are Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia, all members of the TCI.