Since its creation in 1976, CONEG has worked to promote the long-term economic well-being of the Northeast with a focus on policies and programs in surface and rail transportation, energy, and the environment. Specific initiatives capture current and emerging developments in the region and in the federal government, and reflect the governors’ joint policy goals and priorities. In each of these areas, CONEG seeks to:
- encourage cooperation and effective coordination among transportation, energy and environmental programs that affect the larger region;
- foster effective federal-state partnerships for policies, programs and funding;
- facilitate information-sharing among the member states on state policies and programs;
- identify regional concerns, formulate regional perspectives, develop opportunities for collaborative actions, and carry out regional programs that can benefit the CONEG members; and
- articulate the CONEG governors’ shared regional interests to Congress, the White House and federal agencies.
Core principles underlie CONEG’s interests and activities in transportation:
An integrated, resilient and efficient transportation system is the cornerstone of sustainable, affordable and secure communities; a robust and competitive economy; responsible use of energy and land resources; and effective reduction of carbon emissions.
- Safety and security remain a fundamental cornerstone of the regional and national transportation systems.
- Transit is a particularly important regional asset in the Northeast, providing essential mobility for hundreds of millions of riders annually within and among urban and rural communities.
- Rail – intercity, commuter, freight and their intermodal links – is a vital part of the Northeast’s transportation system that helps balance demand across multiple modes. The Northeast Corridor (NEC) and its extensions is a critical component of the integrated transportation network that provides mobility and supports economic development throughout the Northeast and Atlantic Coast region. An adequate cost-shared, multi-year funding solution is essential to avoid disruptions in intercity and commuter rail service and ensure continued progress in vital infrastructure improvements. The Northeast states must have a meaningful role in and responsibility for the development of the Northeast Corridor.
- Intermodal networks and new technologies are key to economically competitive, environmentally sound transportation systems.
- The federal/state/local partnership in transportation, as well as public-private partnerships, must be preserved and strengthened, with sustained, adequate funding for an integrated multi-modal system that is capable of meeting widely varying transportation needs and challenges.
CONEG Transportation Correspondence
Energy and Environment
As technology and innovation transform the energy landscape and influence customer choices across the nation and in the Northeast, core principles underlie CONEG’s interests in energy and the environment.
- Reliable, affordable and clean energy is integral to the economic well-being of the Northeast’s citizens and businesses, and to the region’s quality of life and environment.
- Consumers must be able to count on a diverse mix of environmentally sound energy options and an effective and reliable energy infrastructure network.
- Energy efficiency is a “first fuel” for all sectors and a vital component of integrated policies that offer cost-effective choices for homes, businesses, industry and communities.
- A reliable, modernized energy delivery infrastructure network with adequate capacity to meet changing energy needs is critical to a growth economy. The Northeast needs additional investment in energy efficiency, renewable generation, and infrastructure capacity to deliver diverse energy resources for thermal and electricity markets.
- Interconnected energy systems – for transportation, power and thermal markets – are important to the safety, security and resiliency of the systems.
- Energy, economic, transportation and environmental policies are linked and should be addressed in an integrated manner.
- Strong state-federal partnerships for energy programs must be continued and strengthened through robust funding and close program collaboration among federal agencies and between federal and state programs.
CONEG Energy and Environment Correspondence
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
CONEG supports the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federal assistance program that helps make home energy more affordable for the nation’s households with the greatest energy burden – those with the lowest incomes that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy, primarily in meeting their immediate home energy needs. These households typically include the elderly, disabled, or families with young children. Adequate, predictable and timely federal funding is essential for LIHEAP to provide a vital lifeline to those households struggling to afford the basic necessity of home energy.
The energy burden faced by low-income households is particularly acute in the Northeast, since this region experiences some of the nation’s highest home heating bills due to a combination of the extended winter heating season and heating fuel expenditures that typically exceed national averages. Approximately 30 percent of Northeast households are dependent upon delivered fuels – heating oil, propane and kerosene. These fuels are also the most expensive and volatile in price.
State LIHEAP programs seek innovative and efficient ways to “do more with less” and stretch scarce LIHEAP dollars to ensure that meaningful assistance can be provided to those households. This includes assistance in paying energy bills, techniques to reduce energy use and energy bills, and providing crisis funding when emergencies arise.
CONEG works with member states to communicate the importance of LIHEAP to the federal government, and to share information with each other on effective and efficient ways to deliver LIHEAP services.
CONEG LIHEAP Correspondence