Joining forces to reduce transportation pollution

  • US & Canada

The Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) is a collaborative regional effort to reduce carbon emissions from the transportations sector, improve air quality and public health, increase climate resilience, provide more affordable access to clean transportation choices, promote local economic opportunity and create high quality jobs, and advance equity for communities overburdened and underserved by existing transportation systems. 

On Dec. 21, 2020 Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C. became the first jurisdictions to join a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P). 

A Harvard-led study on TCI revealed major health benefits. Preliminary findings of the study indicated up to $11 billion in health benefits, while reducing racial health disparities and avoiding up to 1,100 deaths and 4,700 childhood asthma cases making the equity components of the program design significant. The MOU requires at least 35% of allowance auction proceeds be reinvested in overburdened and underserved communities. Jurisdictions must also regularly monitor and report air quality in overburdened and underserved communities.

In the fall of 2020, Climate Council member Hackensack Meridian Health joined 100+ signatories calling on governors to decarbonize the sector and invest in low-carbon solutions. Hackensack Meridian Health’s director of sustainability, Kyle Tafuri, previously shared a statement following the findings of the Harvard-led study and the signing of the letter, “The profound connection between increased exposure to vehicle emissions and elevated mortality rates from COVID-19 highlights the need for immediate action to tackle emissions from the region’s transportation systems. TCI presents an all-important opportunity to improve access to clean air for vulnerable communities while helping to prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis.” 

Eight states (Del., Md., N.C., N.J., N.Y., Pa., Va., and Vt.) issued a letter of support for the program, but have yet to sign on. These states continue to participate in the Transportation and Climate Initiative, including working with the inaugural TCI-P jurisdictions to develop a model rule and join signatories in future program engagement. The program will be fully implemented in 2023. 

We will continue to provide updates about program implementation and opportunities for engagement in your states.