Green For All is part of a broad coalition of organizations working to develop a clean, equitable and modern transportation system in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.
Our goal is to make big polluters pay for their pollution and invest in clean transportation solutions in low-income communities and communities of color most impacted by climate change. We’re working with community partners across the region to ensure regional policy is responsive to community needs.
What is the Transportation and Climate Initiative?
The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is a regional collaboration of 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that seeks to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. The participating states are: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. These states are supported by the Georgetown Climate Center, who coordinates the regional collaboration.
What’s at Stake:
- Tailpipe pollution is deadly. Every year, more people die prematurely from traffic pollution-related health impacts than traffic accidents.
- Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to traffic pollution and are overburdened with higher rates of asthma, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. A recent study found that people of color are exposed to 66% more tailpipe pollution than white communities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.
- Low-income families spend a higher proportion of their income on transportation costs – up to 30% – and are often driving older less efficient vehicles. Meanwhile, communities of color have longer than average commute times and are more likely to rely on public transportation.
- The cost of pollution is not free. Polluters need to be held accountable and pay for the damage their pollution causes.
- With the money generated from polluters, we can invest in the most overburdened and under-resourced communities, and diminish the gap between eco-haves and eco-have-nots.
In December 2018, states announced they would develop a regional “cap-and-invest” program, which would set a strict limit on transportation emissions.
Polluters would need to purchase emissions allowances and the money raised could fund clean transportation solutions.
Green For All has been involved ever since, to ensure that states design the program to be responsive to community needs.
An effective carbon pricing program that delivers equitable results must:
- Engage & be responsive to the needs of impacted communities throughout the policy design and implementation process.
- Set a strong cap/price that holds polluters accountable for the true cost of pollution.
- Dedicate funds targeted directly at overburdened and underserved communities to offset new cost burdens resulting from the carbon price AND to create net positive environmental and economic benefits for these communities.
- Ensure direct emissions reductions in communities hit first and worst by transportation emissions, including through complementary policies.
- Make sure that jobs created are good jobs that lift people and families out of poverty, and tie project investments to fair labor, workforce, and supplier diversity standards.
On February 13th, 2019, Green For All convened 32 representatives from environmental, transit, labor, and social justice, and civil rights organizations in Philadelphia for a Northeast Transportation Equity Convening.
Principles were compiled from that discussion, co-created by participating groups and refined through subsequent conversations, including a subcommittee of organizations who attended the convening, and with input from 1:1 conversations with additional community leaders throughout the region.
On July 26th, 2019, eight racial, economic, environmental, and transit justice organizations submitted Policy Design Principles for an Equitable Clean Transportation Program. Read the letter here.
What’s Green For All’s Role in TCI?
Green For All works to build a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. We advance solutions that bring clean energy, clean transportation, green jobs, and opportunities to the poorest, least served, and most polluted communities in the country. We have spent over a decade ensuring carbon pricing mechanisms lead to equitable solutions for overburdened and underserved communities. Green For All is working with racial justice, economic justice, transit justice, and environmental justice communities to ensure that the regional policy, being developed by the Transportation and Climate Initiative, benefits those who need it the most.
- A Letter to TCI States: Policy Design Principles for an Equitable Clean Transportation Program
- Webinar: The Role of Carbon Pricing in a Just Transition
- Green For All 2-pager: 5 Key Elements for Effective Carbon Pricing Policy.
- Green For All blog: A Modern Transportation System Should Move Marginalized Communities Forward
- Energy News Network: Cap and trade for transportation must consider environmental justice, advocates say.
- Baltimore Sun Op-Ed: In curbing transportation sector emissions, will states prioritize community needs?