In the annals of Connecticut’s legislative brawls, this one has the makings of tolls 2.0.
The new transportation effort that is grazing the guardrails is the Transportation and Climate Initiative, TCI. It’s a climate change-combatting concept that seeks to replicate through the motor vehicle sector what the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) accomplished through the electric power sector — cutting greenhouse gases and other emissions while raising money to cycle funds back into related climate-change programs. In the case of TCI, it could also cycle funds into the state’s dwindling transportation fund.
Only the broad outlines of TCI exist at this point. Enabling legislation needed to start the process of designing an actual plan, specific for Connecticut, has been hit with pushback rarely seen in Connecticut on matters related to climate change. Normally bi-partisan affairs, this measure made it through the environment committee on a party-line vote. And full-bore PR campaigns by supporters and opponents can make it tough to tell if the two sides are even talking about the same bill.
In the meantime, a large coalition of supporting groups including environmental and social justice advocates such as Transport Hartford/Center for Latino Progress has been quietly fanning out around the state over the last couple of years, educating those likely to feel most of the impacts and picking up support in some unlikely places. The group has its own social equity coalition and a host of major corporations working through Ceres, which works with investors on multiple sustainability issues.
“The way the opposition wins is by scare tactics,” said Amy McLean, Acadia Center’s Connecticut director. “The way we win is putting together constituencies.”
Read the full article in the CT Mirror here