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Local, statewide groups call on governors to adopt transportation climate initiative

Dozens of New York groups, including one local nonprofit, are part of a 200-organization push to urge Northeast and Mid-Atlantic governors to move on an “ambitious and equitable” transportation and climate initiative.

The largest and most diverse collection of health, community, business, transportation and environmental groups this week made an appeal to governors in more than a dozen states in the Northeast to back a Transportation and Climate Initiative they say would help erase the “deeply inequitable” aspects of the current transportation system in the region.

The 200-group letter calls for states to adopt a TCI program that achieves more reliable and accessible mass transit; more clean electric buses, cars and trucks, and charging infrastructure; more walkable and bikeable communities; less congestion and pollution; and increased investments in projects that connect everyone, including those in underserved urban, suburban and rural areas through:

  • A strong carbon pollution cap, requiring a minimum 25 percent reduction in transportation carbon pollution over the next decade;
  • A commitment to prioritize and dedicate significant program spending to address the needs of overburdened and underserved communities;
  • Equity advisory bodies that would be representative of each state’s overburdened and underserved communities and have clear decision-making roles;
  • Commitments to achieve emissions reductions in overburdened communities and full transparency and reporting on program spending and emissions and equity outcomes; and
  • Commitment to strong labor and workforce development standards and a just transition.

The letter notes that in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, the transportation sector is the top culprit in the current climate crisis.

“We cannot avoid the worst impacts of climate change unless we adopt and implement policies to substantially reduce transportation pollution,” the letter states. “If we do not act quickly and comprehensively, climate change will dramatically destabilize American society.”

climate-solutions-accelerator-logoLocally, Climate Solutions Accelerator of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region joined numerous larger organizations such as the League of Women Voters of New York State, the Southern Environmental Law Center and U.S. PIRG in seeking adoption of a TCI program memorandum of understanding and a commitment to work with stakeholders and provide meaningful opportunities for community input and review regionally and within each state.

“A TCI cap-and-invest program alone will not solve these problems, and it cannot and must not be our only response,” the letter states. “A well-designed TCI program, however, with strong safeguards and guarantees will move us forward by investing billions of job-creating dollars in clean and equitable transportation. Those investments combined with a legally binding limit on transportation carbon pollution will hold the oil industry accountable.”

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