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Republicans Plan To Sink Connecticut Transportation Climate Initiative

Connecticut Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly is joined by a group of protestors in Stratford on Thursday, April 29. They are against Democratic Governor Ned Lamont's push for a multi-state Transportation and Climate Initiative.
Ebong Udoma
/
WSHU Public Radio
Connecticut Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly is joined by a group of protestors in Stratford on Thursday, April 29. They are against Democratic Governor Ned Lamont's push for a multi-state Transportation and Climate Initiative.

Connecticut Republican lawmakers are rallying public support against Governor Ned Lamont’s goal to fund clean transportation infrastructure. GOP leaders want to replicate the defeat of Lamont’s failed plan to fund transportation with tolls two years ago.

Senate Republican Minority Kevin Kelly is leading the charge. He said Lamont’s support of the multi-state Transportation and Climate Initiative would be an unfair tax hike on the middle class.

“They are coming after the middle class wallet. And we want to raise the level of awareness and have people speak out and call their legislators, Democrats and the governor, and let them know that taxing our gas and our food is excessive and regressive,” Kelly said.

Kelly said the GOP will partner with the No Tolls Connecticut group that helped defeat Lamont’s initial highway toll-funded transportation infrastructure plan two years ago.

The Transportation Climate Initiative is a cap and trade model to limit carbon emissions and requires gas suppliers to buy carbon credits. States would use the money to invest in clean transportation infrastructure.

Lamont said at the Stamford train station a couple of weeks ago that he was still hoping for some Republican support.

“Absolutely, I’m reaching out to everybody. Look, down here in Fairfield County in particular people know the importance of getting the rail and not to mention end the congestion points on highways. And there are a fair number of Republicans down here,” Lamont said.

The initiative requires legislative approval, and is expected to generate about $100 million a year. Lamont’s plan also has a large truck-only mileage user fee proposal that would bring in another $100 million a year.

Lamont said half the money raised from the initiative would go to communities adversely affected by air pollution.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.