Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced a new $2 million funding opportunity for innovative, scalable clean transportation adoption and deployment projects that support the Commonwealth’s climate and equity goals. The funding, made available through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) new Accelerating Clean Transportation for All (ACT4All) Program, will address inequities in the clean transportation sector by seeking projects that increase access to clean transportation, and decrease impacts and from the existing transportation system for overburdened and underserved communities.
“Our Administration is working to build the clean transportation system of the future in order to protect public health and combat climate change,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “MassCEC’s ACT4All Program will demonstrate equitable and effective models to ensure all Massachusetts residents receive the benefits of cleaner and more accessible transportation.”
“Massachusetts is a national leader in the clean energy economy, and we are committed to ensuring the results of our efforts are felt by all residents,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This new program employs innovation to ensure we can achieve net zero while assist in closing the health and economic disparities experienced in Environmental Justice communities.”
In Massachusetts, the transportation sector is currently responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other single sector, and the Baker-Polito Administration has been committed to reducing these emissions aggressively and equitably. The goal of the program is to pilot an equitable and scalable model for transportation programs. ACT4All aims to identify and support clean transportation technologies that have a high potential to benefit priority equity populations by expanding mobility options or reducing emissions in heavily impacted communities, as well as make buying electric vehicles as easy and affordable as possible.
“The transportation sector provides significant potential for large-scale technology innovations from micromobility initiatives, such as electric bikes, to mass transit and heavy-duty vehicle electrification,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Crucially, this new program also focuses on demonstrating innovative approaches to expanding clean transportation access in vulnerable and underserved communities.”
The Request for Proposals (RFP) issued today seeks applications for project proposals under four main topic areas: Pilot Incentive Programs, including E-bikes, Vehicles-For-Hire and Carsharing, and High-Impact Vehicle Retirement; Broadening the Base of Electric Vehicle Consumers; Innovative Models for High-Mileage, Low-Radius Fleets; and other pilot projects that increase access, decrease burden from transportation, and reduce emissions for overburdened and underserved populations. Proposals may include projects that provide e-bikes at no or discounted cost, provide incentives for carsharing companies to purchase or lease electric vehicles, provide education, sales, and financing models that increase the diversity of consumers for electric vehicles, provide innovative alternatives to diesel vehicles that operate in overburdened areas, or other proposals that deliver benefits to underserved communities. The program also seeks to reduce the burdens of air pollution and health damages for communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the existing transportation system.
Applications for the ACT4All Program are due to MassCEC by September 7, 2021. Applicants are encouraged to form Applicant Teams and are strongly encouraged to include an organization that represents an overburdened or underserved community. MassCEC has created a Slack Group to serve as a collaboration platform for groups and organizations looking to partner. To assist in building capacity and enabling non-profits and community-based organizations to effectively engage in the application development process, MassCEC is also offering Planning Grants to groups in need of financial assistance. Any other questions about the program can be sent to CleanTransportation@MassCEC.com.
“Clean transportation is central to the Commonwealth’s decarbonization strategies and MassCEC is working to provide models for equity-centered programming that can be run at scale for future TCI-P funding,” said MassCEC CEO Steve Pike. “It’s crucial that this funding reaches historically underserved communities that have been burdened by transportation emissions so that we can ensure an equitable path towards net-zero.”
In September 2020, MassCEC awarded $1.4 million to support nine clean transportation demonstration projects through the Accelerating Clean Transportation Now (ACTNow) program. The funding supported clean transportation initiatives that help reduce the cost and advance the market for low carbon transportation technologies across the Commonwealth.
In December, Governor Baker joined the leaders of Rhode Island, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. in signing a Memorandum of Understanding committing to the groundbreaking multi-state TCI-P. The TCI-P will reduce motor vehicle pollution by at least 26 percent and generate $1.8 billion in Massachusetts by 2032 to invest in cleaner, more equitable and affordable transportation. Projects awarded through the program may help inform the Commonwealth’s strategy to direct at least 35% of program benefits from TCI-P to overburdened and underserved populations.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center recently created a new program, the Vehicle Electrification Advisory Services for Fleets Pilot Program, to support fleet managers as they plan for and procure medium- and heavy-duty (MHD) electric vehicle fleets. recruitment of fleets for the Program will emphasize both fleets that are located or operating in EJ communities and fleets that are owned or operated by historically underrepresented and under-served businesses, such as minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses or rural businesses.
The Baker-Polito Administration also recently expanded the Commonwealth’s electric vehicle rebate program, MOR-EV, to include trucks as well as commercial and nonprofit fleets. Additional rebates were made available for vehicles sited in or operating in Environmental Justice communities in order to equitably address air pollution-related health disparities.