What Would Happen if Virginia Joined the Transportation and Climate Initiative?

Jan 3, 2020

Credit MBandman / Creative Commons

Virginia is about to join a new initiative to cut down on pollution associated with transportation, although critics say the cost is too much.

It’s called the Transportation and Climate Initiative, an effort by 12 states and the District of Columbia to cut down on carbon emissions from cars and trucks while encouraging bike lanes and mass transit.

Daniel Gatti at the Union of Concerned Scientists says the initiative will do for transportation what the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative did for electricity generation. 

“While it’s true that there might be a small impact at the pump, we can make sure that consumers end up ahead by investing those resources in smart transportation technologies like electric vehicles, more efficient vehicles and public transportation,” Gatti explains.

Critics worry about the cost.

Stephen Haner at the Thomas Jefferson Institute says that could be as much as 17 cents per gallon. 

“People have glibly been talking about carbon taxes for years as ‘Oh that’s the solution. We’ll just do a carbon tax,'" Haner says. "Well it’s here and they need to pay attention and think about it again.”

For now, all of this is still in the planning stages. But this spring, states will be making a final decision, signing on to a memorandum of understanding or walking away from the deal.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.