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October 8, 2020

Transportation and Climate Initiative gets corporate push

Photo | Grant Welker Traffic passing through I-290 in Worcester

More than 100 major corporations and higher education institutions wrote to governors Thursday voicing "strong support" for an in-development regional effort to curb transportation greenhouse gas emissions that will raise gasoline prices.

The signatories, some of which rely on transportation infrastructure for their business, urged leaders of 12 states and the District of Columbia to sign a memorandum of understanding signaling their commitment to the Transportation and Climate Initiative, known as TCI.

The companies that signed on to the letter to Gov. Charlie Baker, letter by the sustainability nonprofit Ceres, included ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft, Wayfair, Novartis, DHL, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and Biogen.

Implementing a regional cap-and-trade program that increases costs at the pump could help curb emissions, they argued, particularly for "overburdened and underserved communities" that face the most pollution, and it could also raise revenue to fund much-needed improvements.

"The existing transportation system is a roadblock to our economic and our climate goals," the signatories concluded. "We feel an urgency to create a transportation future that enables economic growth and substantial decarbonization."

If implemented, TCI would impose a cap on emissions from motor vehicles and require gasoline suppliers to purchase allowances. Parties negotiating the system estimate it could raise gas prices 5 to 17 cents per gallon and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in state revenues. 

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