Statement by Jennifer Andersen, NRCM Outreach Coordinator, Clean Energy and Global Warming Project
Transportation is the largest source of global warming pollution in New England and in Maine. One-third of all carbon dioxide emissions in the region come from the transportation sector and they continue to increase every year.
The recent surge in gas prices underscores the fact that we have an unsustainable transportation system. We can’t afford the price at the pump and we can’t afford the price on the planet.
Today, we’re unveiling a valuable report for policymakers, Shifting Gears: 20 Tools for Reducing Global Warming Pollution from New England’s Transportation System
The good news is that we’ve made some progress here in Maine. We’re one of 10 states in the nation that have adopted global warming tailpipe emission standards. Unfortunately, we have to be diligent in defending these standards against the auto manufacturers and the federal government.
Maine has had a very successful incentive program to buy cleaner, hybrid cars. But, the program ended at the end of this year and funding for this year is in limbo right now at the statehouse. We need to continue the type of incentives that help people buy cleaner, more efficient vehicles.
Our Downeaster train service from Portland to Boston has seen increases in ridership this winter and no doubt will be very popular this summer. However, we need to extend the rail line all the way to Rockland. Passenger trains emit about half as much global warming pollution per passenger mile as car or air travel.
Maine also needs to make it a priority to obtain as many Federal transportation dollars as possible in order to expand cleaner, more sustainable transportation options like rail, transit and jitney service.
When Maine adopts the recommendations in the report we are releasing today, Mainers will pay less for gasoline, will be less dependent on foreign oil and will generate less global warming pollution helping Maine meet its Climate Action Plan and New England Governor’s climate agreement commitments.