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Pro-environment legislators in Conn., R.I. push the public to call their reps about the TCI

The Connecticut State Capitol Building in Hartford
The Connecticut State Capitol Building in Hartford

Lawmakers in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts behind the multi-state Transportation and Climate Initiative want residents to rally support to pass the measure.

Meghan Kallman, a Rhode Island state Senator, said public pressure is needed because TCI is a social and environmental justice issue.

“The resulting cuts in emissions would benefit everybody’s health, but particularly people who live in urban neighborhoods that often disproportionately host transportation infrastructure,” Kallman said.

She said lower emissions would improve health in densely populated urban centers with large populations of people of color, like in south Providence off of I-95.

Connecticut state Senator Will Haskell also said concerned residents should reach out to local lawmakers and ask them to support TCI.

“A handful of phone calls can make all the difference,” he said. “If a dozen constituents pick up the phone and reach us on our cell phones by the way, and say they’d like us to focus on environmental justice, on transportation, improved trains and rail, and buses, then all of a sudden we are going to see the tide turn in the legislatures.”

The Rhode Island Senate passed TCI last session, but it failed to win approval in the House. They hope to try again next session. Connecticut lawmakers are pushing to have it considered in a special session this fall. The governor of Massachusetts said he has the authority to enter the program under a 2008 state law.

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.