Connecticut has signed on to a ground-breaking plan that will help dramatically lower greenhouse gas and other emissions from transportation and at the same time bring badly needed revenue to the state’s transportation system — and the under-served communities that are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.
Connecticut will join Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia as the first jurisdictions to commit to the carbon-cutting concept known as the Transportation and Climate Initiative and a final two-year push toward implementing a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, the way the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known as RGGI, has done for the power sector.
It took 11 years and a relentless slog of working groups, webinars, listening sessions, workshops, memorandums of understanding and other initiatives.
Like RGGI, TCI is a cap-and-invest program and will bring revenue into the state – an estimated $89 million in 2023, increasing to as much as $117 million in 2032. Across all four jurisdictions, the program is expected to bring in $288 million in 2023 alone. In 10 years, that number is expected to reach $380 million a year, and greenhouse gas emissions should be down by 26%, a hefty dent in the reductions the state committed to through its Global Warming Solutions Act.
“While we know that there are some who feel this isn’t enough of a commitment for these communities, we’re not going to say it’s fine,” said Amy McLean, who runs the Connecticut office of Acadia Center, the New England and New York environmental advocacy group that has pushed for TCI for years. “We do know that this commitment is a good starting point.”
“The most important thing about this effort,” she said, “is that it’s actually moving forward.”
But she cautioned that TCI is not a silver bullet and the other efforts the state has been making towards cleaner transportation – electric vehicle adoption especially, which has been slow and difficult – have to continue.
“All of these policies need to move forward at the same time,” she said.
Read the full article from the CT Mirror here