Transportation Climate Initiative proponents rallied outside the state Capitol Friday to encourage lawmakers to pass legislation that would create a carbon cap on transportation emissions. It will likely increase gas taxes - and that’s a point of contention.
“They’ve been calling it a gas tax. It is not a gas tax. They have been wildly exaggerating the cost of the program based on long-debunked studies. They’ve been fear-mongering that this will cause gas shortages,” Dykes said.
Despite assurances from Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes – the regional transportation initiative won’t go forward.
“Listen to the young people who are calling on elected officials to make their future your priority. We cannot wait. There is no next year,” Dykes said.
The revenue from the initiative would have helped fund programs that lower carbon emissions from transportation.
“This provides real revenues for us,” Gov. Ned Lamont said. “This provides revenue for us to provide free bus services on the weekend. Get you out of those cars make it easy for that kid to get to the beach make it easy for you to get to the museum easier to buy groceries so you don’t have to take two bus stops to get to.”
But by the end of the day the initiative was dead. Lawmakers and Lamont said it would not be part of a budget deal.
“It’s always a struggle trying to figure out how to get Connecticut to pay for transportation, everyone stands next to me at the bridge but doesn’t always want to pay for that,’ Lamont said.
There was not any bipartisan support.
“We can talk about next year. I have some people who really feel strongly about it and some who don’t,” House Speaker Matt Ritter said.
“The leadership was very clear, really all the leadership, Republicans and Democrats alike saying they didn’t have the votes to get TCI done,” Lamont said.
Republicans have been strongly opposed.
“Anytime the government puts its hand in the people’s wallet it’s a tax,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said.
House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said, “this is not about environmental policies, this is about pickpocketing the residents of Connecticut.”
In the end Democrats may not have agreed but they decided it won’t be moving forward.
“Bills live another year. Maybe more states will sign onto the compact,” Ritter said.