NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH)– Combating climate change versus asking more of taxpayers. Governor Ned Lamont is pushing for a climate plan Tuesday, on the eve of a key committee vote.
This is the second time in two weeks the governor has touted a plan he says would generate over a billion dollars and help make Connecticut’s air cleaner and combat a climate crisis. He’s making this push on a Tuesday, a day before the environmental committee will vote on the plan.
The Transportation Climate Initiative or TCI would limit emissions and greenhouse gases by 26% in just a few years.
Governor Lamont is also proposing a highway use fee for tractor-trailers. At max, he says it would cost them about $15 to get across Connecticut.
Lamont says the money would allow the state to do more development around public transportation, like what you see at Columbus Commons in New Britain around the Fastrak.
It’s an effort New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart says she’s been focused on locally. She says developments like this are only possible due to partnerships with the state that helped turn the old police department into brand new housing.
“Fastrak was here but there really wasn’t a robust development plan around Fastrak. Taking advantage of reutilizing and reimagining all of the parcels for development around mass transit,” said Mayor Erin Stewart.
“Without these funding streams, without TCI, we can’t expand transit service to unserved areas. We can’t increase frequency and reliability,” said Garrett Eucalitto, Deputy Commissioner, DOT.
“Right now, we spend $400 million subsidizing public transportation. We’ll be able to use some of the TCI money to help out with bus service and such, and that frees up other money to help with our transportation fund,” said Gov. Ned Lamont.
Opponents say all of this would add another tax on top of existing taxes.
Senate Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) said in a statement in part, “The reality for Connecticut middle-class families is that purchasing gasoline and food is still a necessity and increasing taxes on both is extremely regressive. It’s also misleading to suggest that the TCI gas tax will lead to cleaner air in Connecticut as states to our west are not moving forward with their own clean air reforms.”
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and D.C. have made commitments to move in this direction with CT if the legislature moves in this direction.