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NEWS
TCI Issues Call For Public Comment
December 31, 2020

The bipartisan group of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions that make up the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) have issued an invitation for public input on a new draft proposal for a regional program to establish a cap on global warming pollution from transportation fuels and invest millions annually to achieve additional benefits through reduced emissions, cleaner transportation, healthier communities, and more resilient infrastructure.

The draft “Memorandum of Understanding” (Draft MOU) builds on a program framework made public on October 1, 2019. A final MOU is expected in the Spring of 2020, following additional public input and analysis. At that time, each of the 12 TCI states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia — and the District of Columbia will decide whether to sign the final MOU and participate in the regional program, which could be operational by 2022.

People and organizations provided extensive feedback on the earlier draft framework in more than 1,200 submissions to TCI’s online portal, as well as in public engagement sessions organized in individual states. The Draft MOU released today has been informed by that input and incorporates additional details on the goals and mechanics of such a program.

TCI jurisdictions are also sharing projections of the potential economic and public health benefits that such a program would unlock region-wide. The TCI jurisdictions have conducted economic modeling to evaluate various options for a program that caps and reduces global-warming carbon dioxide pollution from combustion of gasoline and on-road diesel fuel by up to 25 percent compared to 2022 levels over 10 years.

The transportation sector is currently responsible for more than 40 percent of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions in the region, and soot and smog from cars and trucks are major contributors to lung disease and other health problems region-wide, particularly in low-income communities. Preliminary modeling estimates that by 2032, the proposed program could yield monetized annual public health benefits of as much as $10 billion, including over 1,000 fewer premature deaths, and over 1,300 fewer asthma symptoms annually region-wide, among other safety and health benefits.

The associated auction of pollution allowances under the proposal is projected to generate up to nearly $7 billion annually that participating jurisdictions could invest in solutions to further reduce pollution and to improve transportation choices for rural, urban and suburban communities. Each participating jurisdiction will decide how to invest the auction proceeds to support TCI program goals.

TCI jurisdictions encourage people, companies, organizations, and communities to provide their input on the modeling findings and draft MOU to inform the final program design. Feedback is welcomed on all aspects of a potential program, and TCI jurisdictions are highlighting specific topics on which public input is of particular interest. Those topics include:

• What factors should TCI jurisdictions consider when setting the starting level and the trajectory for a regional cap on carbon dioxide emissions from transportation fuels?
• How should the compliance period be structured to provide needed flexibility, while ensuring environmental integrity?
• What factors should TCI jurisdictions consider when designing mechanisms for managing uncertainty regarding future emissions and allowance prices?

All interested parties are requested to provide their input by Friday, February 28, 2020, at the TCI site.


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