- Nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states and Washington, DC have partnered to form a regional cap-and-invest system to cut transportation-related carbon emissions. Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia have agreed to participate.
- The coalition committed to designing a market-based, low-carbon regional transportation policy that will cap emissions at a yet-to-be-determined level. In cap-and-invest systems, the companies that produce pollution must pay for their emissions. The intent for this program is to reinvest proceeds into more clean transportation options including public transit and zero-emissions vehicles. The program will include reporting and monitoring guidelines to ensure transportation-related emissions decline over time.
- The partners aim to finish drawing up the policy within one year and member jurisdictions will individually decide whether to adopt and implement it.
This agreement is said to be based on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a nine-state partnership to cap and reduce emissions from electric power plants. Some of the RGGI member states also are involved in the new transportation cap-and-invest program: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Tackling issues as a metropolitan region, instead of individually, has been a trend throughout the year, especially when it comes to issues such as climate change. Banding together creates a better economy of scale and allows jurisdictions to pool resources while offering better program continuity. However a tricky part of implementing this type of program at the regional level is collaboration and taking into consideration the interests of individual states while still benefiting the entire region.
The transportation cap-and-invest announcement invites other states involved with the parent partnership, the Transportation and Climate Initiative, to join the transportation program. The states participating in this program would use the money collected from "polluters" to reinvest in improvements to their transportation systems. This could be a way for municipalities to secure some funding for converting to electric bus fleets, as many cities are interested in cutting bus emissions but the high up-front cost is a deterrent.