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April Luncheon Featuring Governor Baker's Commission on the Future of Transportation Vice Chair Eileen McAnneny and Commission member Carol Lee Rawn Recap

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Written By: Kate Maker, Michael Baker International

On Thursday, April 11th, WTS Boston members and non-members gathered to hear from Governor Baker's Commission on the Future of Transportation Vice Chair Eileen McAnneny and Commission member Carol Lee Rawn.

Eileen McAnneny served as Vice Chair of the Governor's Commission on the Future of Transportation and has served as President of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation since February 2015. She is co-founder of the Massachusetts Employers Health Coalition, a Commissioner of the Group Insurance Commission and on the Board of Directors of the Cooperative Central Bank, the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education and the Massachusetts Health Quality Partnership.

 Carol Lee Rawn served as a member of the Governor's Commission. She is the Senior Director of the Transportation Program at Ceres, where she works with investors and companies to advance sustainable transportation policies and practices. Carol Lee is an environmental attorney with over twenty-five years of experience working with federal and state regulatory agencies, companies, investors and nonprofit organizations on a wide variety of environmental issues. She previously served as General Counsel for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, as well as Deputy Legal Counsel to Massachusetts Governor William Weld.

The Commission, established by Executive Order No. 579, signed by Governor Charlie Baker in January 2018, provided recommendations to the Baker-Polito Administration on how to best account for potential changes in transportation in the future, focusing on transportation needs and challenges facing the Commonwealth between 2020 and 2040.   The Commission's report was released in December 2018 and considers complex factors affecting the future of transportation such as increasing electrification of the Commonwealth’s transportation system, preparing transportation infrastructure for climate change and the intersection of land use, housing and transportation policies.  The report relies on scenario planning to help shape plausible future scenarios.  The Commission relied on two major trends which will shape people’s mobility options and needs and used these two trends to create plausible scenarios: technology adoption and jobs and housing distribution.

The report is presented in two parts: (1) Volume I of the report focuses on recommendations to meet the future transportation needs.  (2) Volume II of the report represents the ‘background material’ based on ten months of research, learning and input from a range of academic, industry, and advocacy sources.  Eileen and Carol’s presentation to WTS focused on the 18 recommendations from Volume 1 of the report:

I. Modernize existing state and municipal transit and transportation assets to more effectively and sustainably move more people throughout a growing Commonwealth.

  1. Prioritize investment in public transit
  2. Transform roadways and travel corridors
  3. Better manage traffic congestion 

II. Create a 21st century “mobility infrastructure” that will prepare the Commonwealth and its municipalities to capitalize on emerging changes in transportation technology and behavior

  1. Establish a Commonwealth Transportation Technology Transformation Initiative 
  2. Support and accelerate efforts to consume transportation differently
  3. Promote a statewide telecommunications infrastructure
  4. Develop a strategy to support connected and autonomous vehicles  
  5. Enable and promote a ubiquitous electric charging (and/or alternative fuel) infrastructure

III. Substantially reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation sector in order to meet Commonwealth’s Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) commitments, while also accelerating efforts to make transportation infrastructure resilient to a changing climate

  1. Establish a goal that all new cars, light duty trucks, and buses sold in Massachusetts will be electric by 2040
  2. Establish a regional, market-based program to reduce transportation sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  3. Make transportation infrastructure resilient to a changing climate
  4. Ensure sufficient electric capacity

IV. Coordinate and modernize land use, economic development, housing, and transportation policies and investment in order to support resilient and dynamic regions and communities throughout the Commonwealth 

  1. Adopt dense, mixed-use, and transit-oriented land use policies
  2. Enable Gateway Cities and the regions they anchor to compete for residents and jobs
  3. Coordinate the planned reinvention of the MBTA commuter rail system with local, regional, and state land use and economic development strategies 
  4. Provide better mobility options in rural communities

V. Make changes to current transportation governance and financial structures in order to better position Massachusetts for the transportation system that it needs in the next years and decades

  1. Prepare MassDOT and other transportation-related entities to effectively oversee a changing transportation system
  2. Develop a fiscally sound and responsible transportation resource plan

The luncheon closed with a question and answer session which primarily focused on next steps.  Carol and Eileen explained, while the Commission’s duties are complete, next steps would include evaluating the feasibility and cost to implement the recommendations, as well as identifying funding sources.

Thank you to Carol and Eileen for speaking with WTS-Boston! This report will be a vital document to the future of transportation in the Commonwealth. 

 

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