The US state of Massachusetts has announced $5 million in grant funding for ten transport projects designed to meet climate goals and help disadvantaged communities with access to clean transportation alternatives.
The projects will be deployed in collaboration with local government, local businesses, and community partners. The funding, which was made available through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) new Accelerating Clean Transportation for All (ACT4All) Program, was provided by both MassCEC and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER).
“Massachusetts remains committed to leading the way on taking climate action while also meeting the needs of our diverse communities throughout the state,” said Republican Governor Charlie Baker. “Projects receiving funding through the ACT4All Program will put us one step closer to a transportation system that not only combats climate change but does so in a way that works for all residents.”
“Projects receiving critical funds through the Act4All Program will provide innovative pathways toward a clean transportation system, which will directly benefit today and well into the future,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Additionally, our Administration continues to be committed to building a transportation system that protects public health, combats climate change, and provides access to opportunities for all.”
Selected projects cover a range of areas including e-bike pilots, innovative low-carbon delivery models, broadening the base of EV consumers, and ride-for-hire electrification. The projects are located across the state and focus on serving a range of Massachusetts residents, including low-income, non-English speaking, and minority communities. In addition to greenhouse gas emissions reductions, these projects are expected to result in the reduction of local air and noise pollution, provide quality-of-life benefits, and offer economic development opportunities.
Awardees receiving ACT4All funding include:
- Metro Mobility – $1,000,000: The company will deploy three different e-bike ownership and share models in Greater Boston municipalities, including Gateway Cities such as Quincy and Malden. Metro Mobility will work with affordable housing organisations and employers to serve low-income residents, essential workers, and renters in Environmental Justice areas.
- Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) – $615,000: The quasi-state agency will deploy electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and explore incentive structures at Boston Logan International Airport to catalyse the electrification of the ride-for-hire industry. The project will support emissions reductions in surrounding overburdened communities.
- Way Forward Taxi Alliance – $500,000: The non-profit is piloting an incentive program for taxi electrification in Greater Boston, with a focus on minority-owned taxi companies. Way Forward Taxi Alliance will work in partnership with Waave, Inc. and Data Drive LLC to provide additional services to drivers such as enhanced navigation.
- The City of Boston – $492,286: The City is developing an innovative, e-cargo bike delivery pilot program to serve local residents and businesses in Allston, a neighbourhood with a significant number of Environmental Justice populations. The City is working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to expand learnings from this program to municipalities outside of Boston.
- Pioneer Valley Planning Commission – $490,300: The Planning Commission will implement an e-bike ownership pilot program by leveraging an existing successful e-bike share program in the Pioneer Valley Region. In close collaboration with community-based organisations, the Commission will serve economically disadvantaged individuals in Environmental Justice communities and Gateway Cities including Springfield.
- Cape Light Compact – $496,125: The Compact will deploy a point-of-sale e-bike rebate program with bike shops in Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. Working with VEIC, the Compact will serve low-income residents on the Cape.
- Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) – $439,295: The non-profit will lead a team including the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, community-based organisations, and the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) to deploy e-bikes to low-income residents throughout Worcester. MassBike will also explore e-bike education initiatives and grow the community interest in clean transportation options.
- Soldier On – $152,327: The Berkshire Region-based transportation service organisation will switch over part of their diesel fleet vehicles to low-carbon alternatives. Their project will result in the provision of clean transportation access to homeless military veterans, Medicaid recipients, low-income, and Environmental Justice populations.
- Green Energy Consumers Alliance – $314,630: The non-profit, in partnership with Quincy Asian Resources (QARI), will conduct a comprehensive educational campaign and outreach program around clean and healthy transportation options including electric vehicles (EVs).
- Electric Vehicle Discovery Center – $500,000: The company, in partnership with Plug’n’Drive and JuicebarEV, will implement diverse consumer engagement programs at a new EV Discovery Center in Sturbridge. These programs will engage and educate potential EV consumers across diverse geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic segments.
“Transportation accounts for nearly one third of US greenhouse gas emissions and this effort will help us equitably move to cleaner options for moving people, including those in our disadvantaged communities,” said Representative Jeffrey N Roy, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy. “This is a critical element for eliminating emissions and limiting global warming and these programs will help us meet our climate goals and broaden access to clean transportation alternatives. This is essential for our transition to a zero emission future.”
“Innovations in transportation sparked by these funds will help move people in ways that are energy-efficient, equitable, and geographically diverse,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. “I share the goals of the Baker-Polito Administration to select projects that create transportation options that result in less pollution, more economic opportunities, and improved health.”
The selected projects will support the Interim Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) and the Climate Law, which was signed by Governor Baker in March 2021 and includes provisions related to Environmental Justice and commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.