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Mayor Bowser Announces DC Joins Landmark Pact to Cut Transportation Pollution, Increase Equity

Monday, December 21, 2020
New Initiative Will Invest in Equitable, Healthy Solutions for Underserved Communities


LaToya Foster (EOM) – (202) 727-5011; [email protected]
Julia Christian (DOEE) – (202) 450-7878; [email protected]
Mariam Nabizad (DDOT) – 202-359-2678; [email protected]

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the District will join Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island to launch the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P), a groundbreaking, multi-jurisdictional collaboration to cut transportation pollution by 26% and invest in clean mobility and healthier neighborhoods, particularly for communities of color.

“By working together across our borders at the state level, we can take on the greatest challenges posed by climate change,” said Mayor Bowser. “Through this multi-jurisdictional commitment, we will cut pollution, improve health outcomes, and deliver much-needed investments for our most vulnerable communities. This landmark initiative continues our vision to make District the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city for all of our residents.”

Pollution cuts would come as the TCI-P establishes financial disincentives for large gasoline and diesel fuel suppliers to use such fuels. The District’s program proceeds will be reinvested in solutions promoting clean, safe, and accessible transportation options for residents in all eight wards. At least 35% of proceeds will target benefits for underserved and overburdened communities, whose health is most burdened by transportation pollution, and who are least served by the current mobility network. As part of the District’s commitment to advancing racial equity under the TCI-P, a diverse advisory body will be designated to guide investments and define goals and metrics for measuring progress.

Transportation is responsible for 41% of greenhouse gas emissions in the metropolitan Washington region. Exposure to air pollution exacerbates lung and heart ailments, causes asthma attacks, and increases the risk of stroke and other serious health conditions. To address both challenges, this new program will require large gasoline and diesel fuel suppliers to purchase “allowances” for the pollution caused by burning those fuels in the region. Pollution decreases as the number of allowances declines each year. Auctioning these allowances will generate significant funds every year for the District to reinvest into more resilient transportation priorities such as improving public transit systems; investing in bus lanes, bike lanes, and sidewalks that make trips faster and safer; electrifying buses; and more.

“This initiative is a major step forward in achieving our vision of a sustainable, livable city,” said District Department of Transportation Director Jeff Marootian. “By establishing a new ‘polluter pays’ source of revenue, we will be able to direct new funds towards transportation initiatives that meet our moveDC goals and establish a transportation system that is safe, equitable, accessible, affordable, reliable and sustainable.”

The District has long been a leader on climate action. The Clean Energy DC plan outlines the pathway to cutting carbon emissions 50% by 2032. To meet the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, however, will require more collaborative action.

“The District has established one of the most progressive track records in the nation for sustainability, working to mitigate the major causes of climate change: fossil fuel consumption,” said Department of Energy & Environment Director Tommy Wells. “This commitment to action is critical if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change.”

TCI-P grew out of the Transportation and Climate Initiative, an ongoing collaboration of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia seeking to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding there will be additional opportunities for the public to provide feedback during the subsequent development of a model rule, and, in some jurisdictions, legislative processes.