Comments on TPB’s January 2024 meeting

TPB needs to follow through on its greenhouse gas reduction target 

Good afternoon TPB Chair Henderson and Board members,

On your agenda today are two important items related to climate change. We all know that transportation is the largest source of emissions in this region. 

A year and a half ago, this board took a major step in setting a greenhouse gas reduction goal specifically for cars and trucks. This was a standout among MPOs across the country and continues to be. 

But we’ve seen some disappointing signs at the world and national level. In the U.S., transportation emissions actually rose 1.6% last year while emissions in other sectors decreased. At the world level, we know the commitments made by nations won’t get us to safe levels of greenhouse gasses, which means it’s even more important for regions like Metropolitan Washington to meet its climate change commitments. 

On your agenda today are two items where you can make more progress and ensure that you are meeting the very laudable commitments that you set. I will note another item on the agenda is the resilience work that TPB is doing which has been really outstanding and we look forward to seeing more of the results. 

What this board can do on the agenda today:

  • The Unified Planning Work Program – In the outline available, there aren’t any activities that will track TPB’s greenhouse gas target that it set. We encourage you to have an activity that would track the emissions and how TPB is doing in implementing the strategies that it adopted. We heard there is a study to further explore some of the strategies, with results expected later this year. But we really need to move faster. It’s been a year and half since TPB adopted its 2030 greenhouse gas target and strategies. 
  • Federal greenhouse gas rule briefing – This is an opportunity for TPB to establish its own strong target as the federally required target. For Visualize 2050, which the board will be working on later this year, this is an opportunity to not just track results for 2050, but also in 2030: how will the plan meet the board’s climate commitments for 2030. This is also an opportunity to follow the lead of other jurisdictions and set a Vehicle Miles Traveled target like the State of Maryland has done. 

I thank you for your work on climate. But the region needs to do a lot more on this tough issue.

Bill Pugh, Senior Policy Fellow