Statement: TCI opponents fail to acknowledge urgent need to act on climate crisis

Media Contacts
John Stout

Taran Volckhausen

Former Communications Associate, The Public Interest Network

Regional climate pact is critical for addressing Northeast’s transportation emissions, pollution problems


BOSTON — On Thursday, The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance Foundation and Connecticut Energy Marketers Association held a press conference to criticize the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) program, an interstate agreement designed to reduce the Northeast’s greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel powered vehicles by 26 percent over the next decade. Opponents’ criticisms failed to acknowledge the long-term environmental and public health benefits of TCI.

Transportation is now the number one source of greenhouse gas emission in Massachusetts and the United States’ single largest contributor to the global climate crisis. In addition to the hundreds of people who die in vehicle crashes in the Commonwealth annually, pollution from fossil-fuel powered vehicles cuts short the lives of thousands more in the Northeast every year according to a recently released Harvard study.

Since signing Massachusetts onto the program’s Memorandum of Understanding late last year, Gov. Charlie Baker has continued to make TCI a central component of the state’s climate change agenda, which now calls for the state to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Massachusetts, along with Connecticut, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia, are all currently planning to take part in the TCI program beginning in 2023.

In response, John Stout, transportation advocate for MASSPIRG, issued the following statement:

“There is no more time to wait. Here in Massachusetts, the cost of doing nothing in the face of our public health and climate crises is simply too high. Just this week, the Commonwealth’s Department of Environmental Protection issued an air quality alert, advising local residents to stay indoors due to the intense smoke from wildfires in the western United States and Canada. Science tells us these increasingly severe wildfires are a result of climate change.” 

“If we don’t change course now, we will continue to see rising sea levels, deadlier storms and increasing public health problems caused by degraded air quality. TCI is an opportunity for the Commonwealth to take an active step towards reducing harmful carbon emissions by putting a cap on the pollution emitted by gasoline and diesel powered vehicles. Not only will the program improve our state’s air quality, it will also create healthier, more sustainable and more affordable ways for people to get around, including pollution-free electric vehicles and buses as well as improved infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists.”