August 5, 2019
Several states and across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic — including Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia — and Washington, D.C., have committed to developing a regional climate policy to curb transportation sector emissions and invest in a modern, clean transportation future. The real driver seems to be curbing climate emissions, but the effort also presents a major opportunity to address mobility access and air pollution for transit-underserved and pollution-burdened neighborhoods.
The question is: Will states prioritize the communities that most need transportation service and communities overburdened by transportation pollution?
The Georgetown Climate Center estimated that a cap-and-invest policy could raise $3 billion to $6 billion per year for states across the region. In a cap-and-invest system, states set an annual cap on emissions. Polluters are required to obtain “allowances,” which are auctioned off to the highest bidder. Each year, the cap declines, requiring reductions in carbon emissions and costs for polluters who don’t clean up their act. States then can use the money generated from polluter pockets to invest in making the transition to a modern, reliable, affordable and clean transportation system.