Electric vehicle charging station. (City of Cambridge)

Happening today:

10 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey visits The Community Group, a provider of early childhood and out-of-school programs, to highlight the administration's proposed investments in early education and care. | 20 Ballard Way, Lawrence

10:30 a.m. | AARP Massachusetts holds virtual lobby day to share its priorities for this session, including proposals around a caregiver tax credit, nursing home reforms, retirement savings, and financial security.

11 a.m. | Joint Ways and Means Committee takes Gov. Healey's fiscal 2024 budget proposal on the road to Springfield, where lawmakers anticipate hearing budget testimony from the attorney general, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and adjacent offices. | Springfield Technical Community College

Noon | Reps. Arciero and Murray host annual Organ Donation Day event at the State House where advocates plan to encourage people to register as an organ donor at the RMV or online. | Room 350

Noon | Boston Mayor Wu joins Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox, Senior Advisor for Community Safety Isaac Yablo, and community leaders for a media availability. | Tobin Community Center, 1481 Tremont Street, Boston

1 p.m. | Boston Mayor Wu will take a tour of MassRobotics as part of their National Robotics Week Celebration. | MassRobotics, 12 Channel Street #202, Boston

Massachusetts is an emerging leader when it comes to climate policy.

Just look toward the Bay State’s lofty 2050 decarbonization goal. The state’s climate plan charts a path to achieving “net zero” carbon emissions within the next 27 years — meaning greenhouse gas emissions will be at least 85% below 1990 totals. 

But when it comes to actually achieving those ambitious aspirations, industry and policy stakeholders say there’s a lot of red tape to tear down.

While most states can point the finger at industry and agriculture as the major polluters, not so much in Massachusetts. 

Cars are one of the biggest hurdles in the Bay State, where they account for at least one-fifth of total emissions, a state emissions inventory shows. 

The solution relies heavily on a switch to electric vehicles, with a target of getting 900,000 on the road by 2030. So far the state is falling way short, with barely 55,000 on the streets as of this year.

For electric vehicles — or “EVs” as the Beacon Hill and industry insiders like to call them — to really take off, Massachusetts needs major investments in infrastructure — namely, charging stations. 

Massachusetts needs to greenlight massive infrastructure projects to build out EV charging networks as well as offshore wind and solar projects to help meet decarbonization goals and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Experts warn the state’s clunky permitting process is slowing things down. The commonwealth could already be years behind on reaching its 2050 goals, which a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report suggests also themselves fall short.

ML and SHNS will delve into the issue at a policy forum this week, Permitting Reform: The Key to Unlocking Massachusetts’ Energy Revolution. Sexy? Well… but before you stifle that yawn, consider that Another good title might be: Permitting Reform: The Key To Your Grandchildren Not Dying, or Permitting Reform: The Way Out Of The Nonsensical Cycle of Breathlessly Proclaiming New Emission Goals We Have No

A five-member panel featuring industry insiders, Beacon Hill lawmakers and green energy advocates will delve into the “arduous and lengthy process of upgrading the local and regional electric grid and permitting new energy infrastructure.” 

“We’re excited by the opportunity to help facilitate an important conversation regarding the infrastructure needs of creating the next era of energy in the commonwealth,” MASSterList Publisher Dylan Rossiter said.

News Service reporter Colin A. Young, who will moderate the panel, said necessary projects typically encounter a maze of litigation and unnecessary permitting delays that are slowing progress in reaching climate goals.

“Reforming the permitting process is where the rubber meets the road. No one is really opposed to being net zero by 2050, but there seems to be a lot of difference in opinions on how we get there,” Young told MASSterLIst.

More than 65% of emissions in the Bay State come from cars, trucks, homes, and offices. Another 20% comes from the power plants that provide electricity for things like lights, computers, and appliances, a state emissions inventory shows.

Register for the forum here.

Send tips to Erin Tiernan Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising and general inquiries, contact Dylan RossiterPublisher@MASSterList.comClick here to post a job on the MASSterList Job Board. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

MBTA watch 🚇

Days since the last derailment, fire, falling debris, or critical incident: 11

Days with localized speed restrictions: 25

Days without “normal” weekday subway service: 286

On Jan. 5, Gov. Healey pledged to hire a new MBTA Transportation Safety Chief within 60 days. It has now been 89 days without the position being filled.


Beacon Hill has signaled a readiness to serve up yet-to-be-determined tax breaks for strapped citizens, but when comes to debate around estate tax relief, WBZ political analyst Jon Keller is pointing out a generational divide. Advocates say it could stave off a troubling trend of Bay Staters moving to other states while opponents call it a concern for Boomers and Gen Xers that’s distracting from universal issues like affordable housing and reliable public transit.


Struggle bus: MBTA staffing shortages big challenge to get back on track, report says

T riders got more bad news on Monday when a new report warned subway slowdowns could stretch on for years if the MBTA doesn’t aggressively address its ongoing staffing shortage and hire 2,800 more workers in the next year, 

A federal safety report highlighted the staffing woes last June and the transit agency has made small progress in hiring since with a net gain of just 168 more employees, writes Bruce Mohl for Commonwealth Magazine.

NBC Boston | Commonwealth Magazine | State House News Service

The MBTA puts its money where its mouth is with $7,500 signing bonus

Hours after a report highlighting the beleaguered transit agency’s staffing woes went live on Monday, the MBTA announced it had hiked its hiring bonus to $7,500, up from $4,500. Jobs qualifying for the bonus include bus operators, rail repairers, track laborers, streetcar operators, subway train operators, service technicians, and fuelers

The Boston Herald | The Boston Globe

Time for action on promises of greenhouse gas reductions 

It’s time for Massachusetts to take action and “rapidly” take action on building net-zero infrastructure needed to deliver on promises of greenhouse gas reductions. An op-ed for Commonwealth Magazine pointed to investments in wind and solar as well as move toward getting electric vehicles on the road “with an eye towards reparative justice.”

Commonwealth Magazine

Green energy groups lobby Healey for solar investments

A new coalition of environmental advocacy groups, local governments and scientists are lobbying Gov. Maura Healey to ramp up solar power investments as the state works to meet carbon reduction goals and slow climate change impacts in the coming decades. In a Monday letter, activistsc called on the Democratic governor to set a target of installing 10 gigawatts of solar capacity — the equivalent of one million solar roofs — by 2030.

The Eagle Tribune

Governor eyes ‘amazing’ potential of clean hydrogen

After pledging to “compete harder” than anyone else to secure as may federal dollars as possible for green energy initiatives, Gov. Maura Healey is honing in on clean hydrogen. Massachusetts state agencies have coordinated with five other Northeast states to create a public-private partnership to build a clean hydrogen hub in the region in hopes of attracting federal dollars.

State House News Service

Drug lab scandal prosecutors face judges over questions of evidence disclosure

Three prosecutors connected with the decade-old state drug lab scandal who allegedly failed to disclose evidence and engaged in misconduct, are facing judges in the state’s high court, writes Matthew Medsger for The Boston Herald. The case that led to the arrest of chemist Sonja Farak resulted in the dismissal of thousands of cases.

The Boston Herald

Only Dems lining up for open Boston House seats 

A pair of open House seats in Boston will more than likely stay Democratic after deadlines to get on the special-election ballots have come and gone with no eligible Republican competition, writes Chris Lisinski for State House News Service. It means the races to replace former Ninth Suffolk District Rep. Jon Santiago and former 10th Suffolk District Rep. Edward Coppinger will likely be decided May 2.

State House News Service

State treasurer pushes for pension fund divestment from gun manufacturers

On the heels of yet another mass shooting — this time at a school in Nashville — state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is renewing her push to get the Legislature to require the state pension fund to divest from companies that manufacture guns and ammunition. She pointed to Beacon Hill’s quick action to divest from Russian companies last year as as an example she’d like to see replicated, writes Colin A. Young for State House News Service.

State House News Service

Settlement seen in civil service promotional bias suit 

A class action lawsuit against the state claiming widespread racial discrimination in how promotions were awarded under the Civil Service system could be headed for a $40 million settlement, the Telegram’s Brad Petrishen report. The case dates way back to 2009, when it was initiated by a now-retired Worcester cop, and has grown to include some 600 officers of color who could receive financial compensation, from the settlement.

Telegram & Gazette

Vigeant heads to retirement as Marlborough’s longest-serving mayor 

Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant announced he will not seek re-election and will retire at the end of his current and sixth term, ending a career that spanned 30 years in elected office. Current City Councilor Christian Dumais has already announced he’ll be among those seeking the seat up for the grabs for the first time in a dozen years.  

Community Advocate Patch

Provincetown town meeting gets heated over short-term rental regulations 

After lengthy debate, a packed Provincetown Town Meeting kicked the can down the road on potential changes to local regulations of short-term rentals after being told by the town’s lawyer that three citizen’s articles could create a “litigation nightmare” for the community, Denise Coffey of the Cape Cod Times reports.

Cape Cod Times

Finalists for Salem mayor stocked up on cash in March 

The two candidates facing off in the special mayoral election in Salem in May had strong fundraising months in March, MassLive’s Chris Van Buskirk reports. Dominick Pangallo, the former chief of staff to now-Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, reported raising $21,060 last month, while former mayor and state senator Neil Harrington brought in just over $19,000.  


Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.

Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList