Senate passes DiMario legislation to implement Transportation and Climate Initiative Program
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today passed legislation introduced by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) to implement the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) in Rhode Island..
The Transportation Emission and Mobile (TEAM) Community Act (2021-S 0872A) would limit and reduce indirect carbon dioxide emissions throughout the state while promoting the purposes of TCI-P.
The legislation would provide the funding the state needs to make clean transportation options available and affordable for all Rhode Islanders, while drastically reducing pollution that harms public health, particularly in urban, poorer neighborhoods that disproportionately bear the burden of transportation infrastructure like major highways.
“There’s broad consensus that we have to drastically reduce our carbon emissions,” said Senator DiMario. “The TEAM Community Act will ensure that the revenue stream to make this possible will be funded by the fuel companies rather than the consumer. Fuel suppliers would be required to purchase allowances for the carbon that will result from the fuel they sell. These proceeds will be invested in a more equitable low-carbon transportation system, putting Rhode Island in a better position to be ready for the changes that are coming nationwide in the transportation sector.”
The act targets the transportation sector because it is the largest source of carbon emissions, producing about 36 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Rhode Island. Through the Act on Climate, signed into law earlier this session, the state has committed to aggressively reducing its carbon output, and needs specific initiatives like TCI to achieve those goals.
The legislation creates the statutory framework for the Rhode Island TCI program, establishing critical authorities to promulgate regulations; create and auction carbon allowances; establish legal compliance obligations; support participation in multi-state organization, regional auctions, and regional compliance tracking systems; and establish the Equity and Environmental Justice Advisory Board.
The legislation includes provisions to ensure better environmental justice for underserved and environmentally overburdened communities, requiring that a minimum of 35 percent of all proceeds are invested in those communities through clean transportation projects and programs. The Equity and Environmental Justice Advisory Board it establishes would serve to ensure that standard is met and advocate for programs that serve those communities.
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