Transportation and Climate Initiative Program
by State Representative Joe Gresko, 120th
State Senator Christine Hunter Cohen, Deputy President Pro Tempore,
Representing Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison & North Branford
The Transportation and Climate Initiative Program is a regional market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and generate proceeds to reinvest in clean transportation options and infrastructure here in our state.
TCI is good for the climate and good for the health of Connecticut’s residents — particularly our most vulnerable. Those opposed falsely claim the program will increase gas prices by being, in effect, a “gas tax”.
If passed by the legislature, TCI is projected to increase gas prices by 5 cents per gallon in 2023. This is not a tax, but an estimate of the costs that may be passed along to consumers as energy wholesalers raise prices in response to limited allowances.
TCI includes consumer protection features, including a cost containment mechanism, to prevent gas prices from increasing above 9 cents per gallon in 2023.
All proceeds from TCI will be deposited in the Special Transportation Fund lockbox to be invested in reducing transportation emissions here in Connecticut. This fund can only be managed by the state of Connecticut; the other states in the consortium have no say.
At least 50 percent of the proceeds will be invested in overburdened and underserved communities
TCI will raise annual proceeds of up to $89 million in 2023, increasing up to $117 million by 2032, to reinvest in Connecticut’s clean transportation future. TCI will work for Connecticut, much like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which received similar criticism at its outset.
RGGI has eliminated over 18 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and has raised over $240 million for Connecticut to invest in energy efficiency programs and clean, renewable energy resources.
When gas prices rise due to market fluctuations, we all criticize, but pay the increase and watch it go to shareholders and industry profits. The transportation market has already indicated internal combustion engines will see their final days come the 2030’s. It takes years to negotiate that type of change, which Connecticut hopes to get a jump on with TCI.
The recently passed federal infrastructure bill has welcomed funds for Connecticut for electric vehicle charging stations, but it’s just a piece of the decade-long transition.
The governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and the mayor of Washington, D.C., signed a bipartisan memorandum of understanding agreeing to pursue the implementation of the program. TCI will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, which is the largest source of those emissions generated in the state.
Turning climate change around is the challenge of our time and we owe it to future generations to do all we can to mitigate its impacts.