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Transportation And Climate Initiative Passes Legislative Hurdle In Connecticut

Patrick Skahill
Connecticut Public

A key legislative committee voted Wednesday in favor of a program that could raise hundreds of millions of dollars for environmental programs in Connecticut, but it could also have an impact at the gas pump.  

The Transportation and Climate Initiative would place a declining cap on emissions from gas and on-road diesel fuel. It requires wholesalers to purchase “allowances” to cover those emissions. And it reinvests that money into transportation projects.

Supporters say TCI will reduce on-road carbon dioxide emissions by about one-quarter while raising $1 billion by 2032.

The legislature’s environment committee voted in favor of the bill. 

Democratic committee Co-Chair Sen. Christine Cohen supports TCI and told committee members money raised would help vulnerable communities. 

“It requires that a certain percentage, at least 50 percent, be invested into communities that are overburdened by air pollution or underserved by a transportation system,” she said.

If TCI becomes law, it could raise gas prices by at least 5 cents per gallon in 2023. 

Republican ranking member Rep. Stephen Harding, who voted against the bill, characterized TCI as a “gas tax.”

“No matter how we examine it, this is going to be a tax on the consumers and our constituents,” Harding said. “We are voting today to implement a gas tax.” 

TCI still needs to pass through both the Senate and House before becoming law. It has the support of Gov. Ned Lamont.

Copyright 2021 Connecticut Public

Patrick Skahill is a reporter at WNPR. He covers science and the environment. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.