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Environment Committee passes Transportation and Climate Initiative. Could raise gas prices 26 cents per gallon by 2032

The legislature’s Environment Committee today voted 21-11 to pass a bill authorizing Connecticut to participate in the Transportation and Climate Initiative, an multi-state initiative that would require gasoline producers to purchase carbon credits at auction.

Although the program was originally meant to include 12 states and Washington D.C., thus far only Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Washington D.C. have signed onto the controversial program that would funnel auction proceeds toward reducing transportation emissions but also raise the price at the pump.

Gov. Ned Lamont has been pushing TCI as a potential solution to Connecticut’s Special Transportation Fund problems by using the funds to help support public transportation costs, but a significant portion of the funds would be directed toward communities that have been overburdened by the effects of car emissions.

The effect on gasoline prices has raised public doubts and skepticism. Exactly how much the auctions would affect gas prices is a matter of debate. 

Gov. Lamont says the initial price surge would be limited to 5 to 9 cents per gallon by using a cost containment reserve. Initial estimates by TCI placed the first-year price increase at 17 cents per gallon.

However, during debate on the bill, Environment Committee Chair Sen. Christine Cohen, D-Guilford, confirmed that subsequent price increases could reach 26 cents per gallon by 2032 as the emissions cap is lowered after being asked about matter by Rep. Stephen Harding, R-Brookfield.

The TCI program is meant to help the state meet its goal of reducing emissions by 50 percent. TCI claims the program will reduce emissions by 26 percent by 2032, however the initiative has also noted that emissions are expected to naturally decline by 24 percent as efficiency standards and technology improves.

Debate over the TCI legislation ranged from whether the funds would be protected from “raids” or “diversions” to whether or not TCI constitutes a “tax.”

“We are voting today to implement a gas tax. That is truly what this is,” Harding said. “I just don’t see how we can be implementing this kind of gas tax on our constituents at this time.”

“We already pay some of the highest electricity rates in the United States, we pay the highest gas tax in New England,” said Rep. Patrick Callahan, R-New Fairfield. “I have numerous concerns trying to legislate the way people behave. What’s next? Are we going to tax them to not eat red meat? I don’t think this is what we should be doing.”

Cohen said TCI is not meant to change behavior but is a cap and invest program. 

“We’re not looking to change prices at the pump to disincentivize use of combustible engines or disincentivize the purchase of gasoline,” Cohen said. “Rather we are looking to sell allowances at auction and invest the proceeds of the auction into overburdened communities, those traditionally underserved by transportation.”

**Meghan Portfolio contributed to this article**

Marc E. Fitch

Marc E. Fitch

Marc E. Fitch is the author of several books and novels including Shmexperts: How Power Politics and Ideology are Disguised as Science and Paranormal Nation: Why America Needs Ghosts, UFOs and Bigfoot. Marc was a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow and his work has appeared in The Federalist, American Thinker, The Skeptical Inquirer, World Net Daily and Real Clear Policy. Marc has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Western Connecticut State University. Marc can be reached at Marc@YankeeInstitute.org

5 Comments

  1. Avatar Eric M Cleveland
    April 1, 2021 @ 7:19 am

    I don’t want tolls or a gas tax CT TAXES ARE WAY TOO HIGH NOW STOP ROBBING US

    Reply

  2. Avatar Mark A. Bibbins
    April 1, 2021 @ 11:45 am

    Ned Lamont and CT politicians are purposefully crashing the CT state’s economy.

    Reply

  3. Avatar Mark A. Bibbins
    April 1, 2021 @ 11:47 am

    Marc and Yankee Institute thankS for Keeping us well informed.

    Reply

  4. Avatar Marlin Williams
    April 1, 2021 @ 12:23 pm

    Wow, how will working class people afford to live here? My employers is taking an extra .5% out of my pay for the family leave bill, which is an extra 12 weeks paid vacation for state workers. Am I remiss in asking, who would ever be crazy enough to start a business in this state

    Reply

    • Avatar Mike
      April 1, 2021 @ 8:30 pm

      As soon as Biden was sworn in gas prices jumped and keeped so why not stick it to Connecticut people Rosa DeLauro has done a good job of sticking it to Connecticut. 9% out of of 1.9 trillion dollars plus taking $5,000 from each American to pay California’s debt.

      Reply

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