Yesterday, the Baker administration announced that the Transportation Climate Initiative is dead in Massachusetts, at least for now. This is not a surprise, particularly after Governor Lamont’s statement that there is no political support for TCI in Connecticut. It is difficult to implement a region-wide program to reduce carbon emissions from transportation fuels when only one state in the region is prepared to do so.
The administration tried to put the best face on the failure of TCI, suggesting that money from the infrastructure bill will help Massachusetts improve its transportation system in a way that will reduce GHG emissions. Good luck with that. The infrastructure bill money is great, but it’s barely going to make a dent in GHG emissions
The problem is pretty simple. People aren’t willing to pay the cost to eliminate GHG emissions from transportation. Unfortunately, the cost of those emissions keeps piling up every time anyone fills their gas tank. The problem has a name. It’s not new or complicated. It’s called an externality. We’re not avoiding the cost associated with carbon in fuels by failing to implement TCI. We’re just incurring the cost in extreme weather and rising sea levels, rather than by paying more for gas at the pump.
That’s not a good long-term tradeoff.