Maryland Declines to Join Regional Transportation and Climate Initiative

Earlier this week, the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States issued its Memorandum of Understanding with only four signatures.

While Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and D.C. decided to push ahead, eight states including Maryland opted to put signing the MOU on hold. In a statement, all 12 jurisdictions that have been involved in discussions around TCI said they would continue to collaborate, which will likely lead to more signing on in the future.

From coverage in Maryland Matters:

The Maryland Department of the Environment released a one-sentence statement in Grumbles’ name on Monday: “Maryland will remain engaged and at the table to work with our regional partners for lasting clean transportation and climate progress while continuing our immediate focus on responding to the COVID-19 emergency.”

TCI hopes to cut greenhouse gas pollution from vehicles in the region by an estimated 26% from 2022 to 2032. The TCI-P program will require gasoline and fuel suppliers to purchase allowances for the pollution their products will cause. The proceeds of allowance auctions will go to participating states for investment in carbon cutting measures like increased electric vehicle deployment and public transit.

From the press release:

Each jurisdiction implementing TCI-P will determine how to best invest program proceeds depending on their unique needs and goals. Example investments may include:
  • Improving the reliability of public transit;
  • Repairing existing roads and bridges and making transportation infrastructure more resilient to climate change;
  • Expanding high speed internet for rural and low-income communities;
  • Electrifying school buses and transit buses;
  • Providing bus rapid transit and developing new bus routes in suburban and rural communities;
  • Reducing air pollution by electrifying ports and freight facilities;
  • Expanding safe bike lanes, walking trails, and sidewalks;
  • Providing consumer rebates for electric and low-emission vehicles;
  • Developing interstate electric vehicle charging corridors; and
  • Offering incentives for continued telecommuting to reduce congestion.

Those signing the MOU also committed to spending 35 percent of the revenue to “ensure that communities underserved by the transportation system and overburdened by pollution will benefit equitably from clean transportation projects and programs.”

Useful Links:

MOU

TCI MOU Press Release

“Next Steps” Statement

Coverage in Maryland Matters

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