State Carbon Reduction Strategies need to incorporate TPB climate goals, findings & strategies

October 17, 2023

Hon. Reuben Collins, TPB Chair
National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board
777 North Capitol Street NE, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20002-4239

Re: State Carbon Reduction Strategies need to incorporate TPB climate goals, findings & strategies

Dear TPB Chair Collins and Board members,

At the Oct. 18 TPB meeting, state DOT’s will brief you on their draft Carbon Reduction Strategies. The states are required to consult with TPB on these plans before they submit them to the federal government next month. The Coalition for Smarter Growth encourages TPB members to closely review and provide feedback on these strategies. 

To be effective and to reflect TPB’s adopted policies, the state Carbon Reduction Strategies need to:  

  • Reference TPB’s strong greenhouse gas reduction goal and incorporate the strategies that this board endorsed and plans to explore;
  • Reflect the finding of TPB’s Climate Change Mitigation study that our region and states must reduce per capita passenger Vehicle Miles Traveled 20% by 2030 with further reductions in later years, in addition to rapidly transitioning to electric vehicles;
  • Include quantified targets for per capita VMT reduction and electric vehicle adoption;
  • Address the increased greenhouse gas emissions from state highway capacity expansion plans. TPB’s climate study and national research show that these projects typically worsen climate pollution and make it harder to meet our climate goals; and
  • Show what levels of implementation the DOT’s proposed strategies would need to achieve VMT, electric vehicle and greenhouse gas targets.

Transportation is the region’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in our region and in Virginia and Maryland. We need accountability from our departments of transportation. We appreciate that state DOT representatives are presenting overviews of their Carbon Reduction Strategies to the TPB this month; however, it is disappointing that only Maryland has provided its full draft strategy to TPB.

CSG also would like to remind local TPB member agencies that regardless of state DOT plans, you have the opportunity through your Visualize 2050 submissions, to demonstrate how you will help the TPB region achieve its adopted greenhouse gas emission target. The 800 plus public comments on Visualize 2050 projects submitted to date this year overwhelmingly call for a change from the status quo, asking for more priority given to transit and walkable, bikeable communities with safe streets, with less highway capacity expansion and arterial widening. Many of these comments reference climate change as a critical issue.

Thank you for your climate action efforts.

Bill Pugh, AICP CTP
Senior Policy Fellow
Coalition for Smarter Growth