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Dear Decision maker:
We applaud your efforts to design a regional carbon pricing program for the transportation sector across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Region. There is no question, we must take steps to cut pollution from this sector and invest in solutions.
We must simultaneously take specific, measurable, and meaningful steps to ensure the communities hit first and worst by pollution, or who have inadequate access to mobility options, can fully participate and benefit from a clean, modern, reliable, and affordable transportation system. This commitment should be expressed in any regional commitment (such as an MOU), and should not be left to individual states to determine whether or how they will address the needs of our most impacted communities.
Last summer, organizations representing racial, economic, transit, and environmental justice communities delivered a set of 9 principles for policy design to ensure the regional program builds in the guardrails that will ensure protections and guarantees for communities most impacted. Each of these equity principles, especially a clear process for ensuring communities are at the table, must be baked into the regional program, committed to by each state that plans to adopt the program, in order to ensure that some communities don’t get left behind.
I echo and support the voices of those who are directly impacted determining what they need to see as part of the program design. I urge you to commit to specific steps for each of the 9 principles for policy design in any regional MOU.