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NY Urged to Lead in New Emission Reduction Initiative

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New York must take on pollution from transportation to meet its carbon emission reduction goals. (Mihail/Adobe Stock)
New York must take on pollution from transportation to meet its carbon emission reduction goals. (Mihail/Adobe Stock)
 By Andrea Sears - Producer, Contact
October 27, 2020

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A coalition of environmental, business and health groups is urging New York state to take the lead in a regional effort to reduce carbon pollution from transportation. Transportation is now the leading cause of carbon pollution in New York.

A new collaboration of 12 states and the District of Columbia called the Transportation and Climate Initiative could help cut that pollution and raise funds for updating transportation infrastructure. According to Elizabeth Broad, director of New Yorkers for Clean Power, it's modeled on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that has successfully reduced emissions from the power sector.

"TCI would put a cap on transportation-sector carbon pollution and require oil companies to reduce the pollution that they cause over time," Broad said.

She said New York must take the lead in TCI regional negotiations to ensure pollution caps meet the state's commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The TCI would put a regional cap on emissions from transportation fuels and require oil companies to pay for the pollution they cause by buying pollution credits. Broad noted that could raise up to $1.4 billion-a-year for New York.

"That money would go to investments in equitable and sustainable transportation solutions like better mass transit, more walkable and bikeable communities, clean electric buses and trucks," she said.

She said it also would spur investments in environmental justice initiatives, create good-paying jobs, and accelerate the state's economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Broad pointed out for all of this to happen, the states that want to join TCI need to sign a memorandum of understanding by the end of the year.

"Fingers crossed, New York will join and will really be a leader to help push the other states to agree to the most ambitious possible program," she said.

Once states have signed on, the provisions of the Transportations and Climate Initiative will go into effect in 2022.

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