ALBANY, N.Y. and BOSTON, March 16, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leading environmental, scientific and business organizations working to advance modern, clean and low-carbon transportation applauded today's announcement by Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont that they will hold a series of public listening sessions on transportation modernization. Groups are advocating for a regional plan to modernize transportation, drawing from the states' success in cutting power plant emissions in the region over the last decade. The first listening session is set for on April 9, 2018 in Albany.
In November, the seven Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, and Washington, D.C. pledged to explore a regional policy to reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector. Next month's meeting in Albany will be the first in a series of wider listening sessions designed for state lawmakers, business leaders and others to discuss solutions to the challenges that lay ahead. Needed transportation improvements include: new infrastructure for electric vehicles; new light rail service; better public transportation, including zero-emission bus service; and new programs to ensure low-income and marginalized communities have access to transportation options that are affordable, convenient, and non-polluting.
The public forum in Albany is the first regional session announced by the states. Massachusetts also held four state listening sessions on modernizing the state's transportation last fall. The Albany Listening Session for clean transportation will serve as a launching pad for proposals and policies to reduce air pollution generated by cars and trucks, while building an equitable transportation network that serves people from all walks of life in states committed to a regional initiative.
The clean transportation Albany Regional Listening Session announcement is available at: http://www.transportationandclimate.org/listening-sessions-transportation-and-climate-initiative.
Jackson Morris, director, Eastern Region, Climate & Clean Energy Program, NRDC, said: "States participating in these listening sessions are demonstrating important leadership in cleaning up our transportation system. Modernization is the key to quicker and safer commutes, better transportation options, a healthier environment, economic growth, and reduced climate impacts. The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region has worked together before to curb a major source of harmful carbon pollution from power plants, and it can do so again here in transportation."
Mark Kresowik, deputy regional director, Sierra Club, said: "The regional listening session will mark the first step in developing a regional plan to help grow the economy, reduce traffic jams, improve public health, save consumers money, serve all communities and reduce climate impacts. We know that a modernized, safer, faster and healthier system for moving people and goods is a big job, but it must be done and the good news is that our region has the experience and means to get the job done."
Jordan Stutt, policy analyst, Acadia Center, said: "The states are convening these conversations at an opportune time. Congested roads, outdated infrastructure and heavily polluting vehicles are a drag on the economy and our health. By working together, these states can implement regional solutions for clean and modernized transportation that will improve quality of life and reduce health risks from pollution."
Union of Concerned Scientists President Ken Kimmel, said: "All of us want a transportation system that works smoothly and is clean and affordable. A regional approach like the one to be discussed in Albany could fund the investments we need for public transportation, cleaner cars, buses and trucks in urban, suburban and rural communities, and affordable housing near job centers. By acting together, according to one study we can cut transportation pollution by 40 percent, create more than 100,000 new jobs, and save consumers $14.4 billion – all by 2030."
Alli Gold Roberts, senior manager, state policy, Ceres: "Businesses across the region are participating in the dialogue in order to outline their support for an improved, modern transportation system. Increased access to public transit, electric vehicle infrastructure, and reduced traffic congestion are good for the economy and essential to attracting high-quality talent. Companies are also increasingly committed to reducing their own transportation emissions and look forward to working with lawmakers on effective public–private partnerships."
Noah Dubin, Eastern States advocate, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2): "This region-wide initiative will create a 21st century economic engine in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic that will send shockwaves across the country. Not only will it raise funds for advanced transportation improvements like EV charging infrastructure, generating thousands of jobs in the process, but it will send a clear market signal that the rest of the US needs to invest in clean vehicles and the future of transit to keep pace."
Andrea McGimsey, senior director of global warming solutions, Environment America: "It's about time we get to drive clean cars and trucks that don't pollute and cause global warming," said Andrea McGimsey, Senior Director of Global Warming Solutions at Environment America. "Nearly half of all Americans live in communities where the air is more polluted than health experts and the government say is safe. We are excited to see the region moving forward on a clean, modern transportation system and protecting public health."
"Transportation is the largest source of carbon pollution in New England and overwhelmingly that burden—and the burden of transportation costs—falls on the shoulders of our most vulnerable communities," said Amy Laura Cahn, staff attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. "We need a comprehensive approach to create a region-wide transportation system that is safe, equitable, and reduces emissions for the health and economic benefit of all New Englanders. We must ensure that low-income and communities of color are at the table, to move this regional conversation forward."
Michelle Romero, deputy director of Green For All, the climate justice initiative of The Dream Corps said: "Our hope is that the listening sessions will include robust outreach and support to ensure low-income communities, communities of color, and people with disabilities can fully participate. Their perspective is critical: we're talking about how people move about their daily lives to go to work, pick up kids, get to classes, and access medical care. As communities hit first and worst by transit-related pollution, their ideas and expertise cannot be underestimated. We need a clean transportation future that works for all."
ABOUT THE GROUPS
Leading environmental, scientific and business organizations, including Acadia Center, Ceres, Conservation Law Foundation, Environment America, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), Green For All, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists are working together to advance modern, efficient, and clean low-carbon transportation solutions in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The groups are focused on improving our transportation system -- the ways we move people and goods in the region – to spur economic growth, make us healthier and safer, clean up the environment, and improve our quality of life. An improved transportation system means more clean cars and trucks, more reliable mass transit, more walkable and bikeable communities, and investments that connect everyone, including those in underserved and rural areas.
SOURCE Acadia Center, Ceres, NRDC, Sierra Club, and Union of Concerned Scientists