Nine States and D.C. Envision New Future for Transportation

Source: Pixabay
This tunnel moves cars through the mountains of Pennsylvania, a state that is part of the coalition trying to change its approach to carbon-intensive transportation.

Nine states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region plus D.C. announced in mid-December a new transit policy, to be completed by the close of 2019, that will limit carbon pollution contributing to climate change and increase investments low-carbon technology.

“Public input and other expert policy analyses underscore the potential economic, environmental, and public health benefits of reinvesting the proceeds from such a program into more clean transportation options,” the statement reads. “[These include] public transit, transit-oriented development, zero-emission vehicles, innovative efficiency strategies, and other solutions that move people and goods more efficiently while generating less pollution, including in environmental justice communities.”

The jurisdictions are members of the Transportation and Climate Initiative run by the Georgetown Climate Center. The Initiative held six public conversations with stakeholders to inform last month’s announcement. It sees a regional, collaborative approach to transportation as necessary because transportation is the largest carbon polluter in the area, and wants to take action due to the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC report forecasted dangerous consequences if the country does not take drastic steps against carbon in the next decade. Goals for the new policy include implementing systems that promote biking and walking, decrease congestion, and increase weather resiliency, and promoting transportation equity for underserved and overburdened residents.

Adoption is not mandatory; thus, once the jurisdictions finish the planning process, each will decide whether to adopt or implement the policy.