BAKER ADMINISTRATION WITHDRAWS FROM TRANSPORTATION CLIMATE INITIATIVE (CTI)

By Bob Katzen

Until recently, Gov. Baker was a strong supporter of TCI—a regional collaboration which originally captured the interest of 12 states and the District of Columbia and was envisioned to reduce carbon emissions and improve transportation.

“The Baker-Polito Administration always maintained the commonwealth would only move forward with TCI if multiple states committed and as that does not exist, the transportation climate initiative is no longer the best solution for the commonwealth’s transportation and environmental needs,” said Baker press secretary Terry MacCormack.

“At the same time, the new federal infrastructure funding package, American Rescue Plan investments, as well as tax revenue surpluses generated by Massachusetts’ strong economic recovery make the commonwealth better positioned to upgrade its roads, bridges and public transportation systems, while also making investments to reduce transportation emissions, deliver equitable transportation solutions and benefits and meet the state’s ambitious climate goals.”

“MassFiscal took a lot of punches for usually being the loudest voice against TCI,” said Paul Craney, the alliance’s spokesman. “At times, we were the only voice. We worked diligently to ensure people knew exactly what it was that policy makers were getting our state into and by the end we formed a solid and robust coalition of opponents. MassFiscal is stronger for the effort. Ultimately, it’s the everyday citizens of Massachusetts that benefited the most for our persistent advocacy to see the program ended and never settling for anything less than its defeat.”

Josh Ostroff, Interim Director of Transportation for Massachusetts, was disappointed in the decision. “While Gov. Baker has made a decision to withdraw … the goals of TCI remain as important as ever. For the sake of the entire commonwealth—but particularly our environmental justice populations that have been most adversely impacted by transportation pollution and by the COVID-19 pandemic—reducing carbon emissions and tailpipe pollution must remain a high priority, and the commonwealth’s laudable climate goals must be backed up by decisive action.”

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