On December 14, 2018, the Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth released its two-part report on transportation needs and challenges facing the Commonwealth between 2020 and 2040.
(Photo credit: Office of the Governor)

The Commission on the Future of Transportation, convened by Gov. Charlie Baker last year to analyze the state’s transportation opportunities and challenges and make recommendations to the Baker-Polito administration, released its final report on Dec. 14.

The report’s recommendations include: electrification of the public transit system; levying a carbon fee or tax; and consideration of a congestion pricing model.

The 18-member commission also encourages municipalities to invest in transit-oriented development with dense, mixed-use buildings near existing commuter rail stations.

The commission, led by the governor’s former chief of staff, Steven Kadish, was made up of transportation policy experts with a range of institutional affiliations.

The 250-page report is divided into five issue areas: demographics and land use; transit and mobility; autonomous and connected vehicles; climate change; and transportation electrification.

In addition to 18 specific recommendations, the report includes models of potential transportation-related scenarios based on different concentrations of jobs and housing as well as varied levels of technological advancement.

Per the commission’s mandate, the report does not examine the substantial financial investment that would be needed from both government and the private sector to achieve the recommendations. In his announcement of the report’s release, Gov. Charlie Baker did not make specific promises for transportation-related funding.

The commission held listening sessions across the state to solicit public input over the course of 10 months. The MMA Legislative Division met with Kadish in September to provide feedback.

An MMA municipal best practices recommendation to invest in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure aligns with the report’s recommendation that only electric vehicles be sold in the Commonwealth by 2040.

The full report and other information can be found at www.mass.gov/orgs/commission-on-the-future-of-transportation.

Just days after the report’s release, Gov. Baker announced on Dec. 18 that Massachusetts will participate in a nine-state agreement, known as cap and invest, to impose regional limits on carbon emissions from transportation sources. The agreement will require fuel distributors who operate in the participating states to buy permits to cover their pollution output.

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