Northeast looks at GHG reductions that boost the economy

By Eric Sundquist

Clean transportation investments funded by market-based user charges would reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also providing a net economic benefit, a study for five Northeastern states and the District of Columbia contends.

The study was released to coincide with international climate talks in Paris and a joint pledge by the six jurisdictions to jointly “develop potential market-based policies that, when combined with existing programs, are targeted to achieve substantial reductions in transportation sector emissions and provide net economic benefits.”

The jurisdictions—Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont—participate in the Transportation Climate Initiative, headquartered at Georgetown University. Georgetown’s Climate Center released the study, performed by Cambridge Systematics.

The study found that vehicle efficiency standards and other state and federal policies would lower transportation-related GHG emissions 29 percent by 2030. A package of policies directed at clean vehicles, land use, mode shift, and other issues, coupled with mileage-based user fees and/or other pricing mechanisms to help fund system investments, could bring the reduction to as much as 40 percent.

Reduced fuel costs and other economic benefits would more than offset new fees, the report found. It said the policies and fees “would increase the gross regional product by $11.7 billion to $17.7 billion, increase personal disposable income by $9.4 billion to $14.4 billion, and create 91,000 to 125,000 new jobs.”

Eric Sundquist is Managing Director of SSTI.