MassDOT Organizing New Climate-Focused Office

“One of the Filthiest”…

The Department of Transportation is on the verge of launching a new office focused on decarbonizing the transportation sector and making infrastructure more resilient in the face of climate change, its top leader said Wednesday.

Acting Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt, who took over atop MassDOT on Sept. 11, said the department will soon become the first Massachusetts agency — and the first state transportation department in the country — to create an “environmental, social and governance office.”

MassDOT plans to staff the forthcoming office with three new employees who will focus on decarbonization and resilience efforts, both in the department itself and at the MBTA, Tibbits-Nutt said at her first board of directors meeting as acting secretary.

Embracing cleaner transportation will be key if Massachusetts wants to achieve the goal its elected officials enshrined in state law of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. About 37 percent of statewide emissions in 2020 came from transportation, the most of any individual sector, according to state data.

“We can really champion some changes, especially around the protection of our environment, the resiliency and leading to more gas reductions, because we all know we’re one of the filthiest industries and we have a lot of work to do,” Tibbits-Nutt said.

She added that the Healey administration’s climate office will “soon” release a report recommending changes the executive branch can make to better align with the state’s climate targets — a report that has not been released publicly more than two months after Gov. Maura Healey’s office said it was “still being finalized.”

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Tibbits-Nutt said the forthcoming report will recommend the MBTA create its own climate program management office “much like the effort that is currently underway here at MassDOT.” She said officials at the T and MassDOT have already coordinated on plans to create one “transportation-wide” climate project management office.

“This will allow both agencies to advance and track all efforts in the transportation sector toward our shared commonwealth goals,” she said.

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