On Tuesday Governor Ned Lamont and the leader of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection came together for a virtual news conference speaking in support of a plan to lower Connecticut’s vehicle emissions for the future.
Leaders were on a virtual call to discuss the Transportation Climate Initiative, a regional climate agreement with a goal of reducing CO2 emissions budgets yearly between Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington, DC.
In numbers from TCI and DEEP, it's projected on-road emissions would be reduced by at least 26% in participating jurisdictions in 10 years after 2022.
But critics say the plan is a tax. In a statement, the Yankee Institute for Public policy called the agreement regressive, saying in part:
“Connecticut is already struggling amid an economic downturn. Imposing a significant tax increase simply chops any chance of recovery off at the knees and harms working families with a regressive tax at a time when few can afford it.”
Joe Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut is also in opposition, saying federal regulations in place over time will lower emissions, not taxpayer money.
“That’s how we reduce emissions is at the federal level with rules on cars and trucks that apply to everybody. Not by instituting a tax that is going to try to force you to change your behavior by making it too expensive to drive a car or truck,” said Sculley.
But the governor and Commissioner Katie Dykes say the idea isn’t a new tax.
“We haven’t seen an increase in that gas tax in many, many years. What this program will do is to set for the first time a limit on carbon pollution from the transportation sector in line with the state mandates we already have to reduce emissions economy wide” said Dykes.
“I need the naysayers to give me other solutions for our transportation fund. This is my second effort," Lamont said.
You can read the entire TCI memorandum of understanding here.