HARTFORD, Conn. – Today, Acadia Center released an analysis illustrating the benefits of a new approach for Connecticut to reduce transportation pollution while improving the system to better meet its residents’ needs. The analysis shows that, if designed well, a regional cap-and-invest policy developed through the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) could enable the state to make over $2.7 billion in crucial transportation investments by 2030, which would generate over 23,000 long-term jobs and $7 billion in economic activity.
“Connecticut can be a leader in developing a bold, equitable program to invest in needed transportation modernization while capping pollution in the state,” said Amy McLean Salls, Connecticut Director and Senior Policy Advocate at Acadia Center. “By capping transportation emissions and auctioning pollution allowances, all residents in the state will benefit through investments in transportation infrastructure and improved mobility options. The state’s overburdened and underserved communities are disproportionately bearing the brunt of non-accessible transportation options and harmful impacts of local air pollution. A modernized clean transportation system would be transformative for Connecticut’s people and economy.”
Acadia Center’s analysis demonstrates that new transportation investments funded through a regional cap-and-invest program would deliver substantial economic, environmental, and mobility benefits in Connecticut. As Connecticut works with other states to develop this program, advocates, community groups and other stakeholders are joining forces to determine what that program – and Connecticut’s transportation future – should look like.
On Tuesday evening, Acadia Center, the Center for Latino Progress, the CT Roundtable for Climate and Jobs, Sierra Club and Transport Hartford Academy gathered, joined by 55 stakeholders including transportation and environmental advocates, environmental justice activists, health professionals, business leaders, Commissioner Dykes from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Tom Maziarz from the Department of Transportation, for an important Connecticut-focused meeting to discuss efforts to deliver a more equitable, modern low-carbon transportation future.
“It is far past time for the State of Connecticut to act. As we act to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants, we have the opportunity to invest in our communities, quality of life, and local employment,” said Gannon Long, Assistant Coordinator for Transport Hartford Academy at the Center for Latino Progress. “A transportation focused cap-and-trade system, implemented in 2021, could be a useful tool in achieving the state’s critically important emission reduction targets.”
To estimate the economic opportunity for a market-based transportation climate policy, Acadia Center’s report examined a sample investment portfolio including bus fleet electrification and transit system improvements, commuter rail updates and expansion, electric vehicle rebates and charging infrastructure, and walking and biking infrastructure. To determine how funds from this type of program are ultimately invested, participating states will need to develop a process that includes input from the most impacted parties, in particular low-income and disadvantaged communities.
“Cap-and-invest programs do not operate in a vacuum – they work best when they are designed to complement other policies and accelerate the transition to less-polluting options,” said Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director at Acadia Center. “This analysis illustrates how cap-and-invest proceeds could bolster Connecticut’s existing efforts to deliver modern, accessible, low-carbon transportation options while spurring local job creation.”
Maine could gain 13,500 jobs and receive a $6.5 billion boost to its economy by shifting toward cleaner energy and upgrading its transportation infrastructure, a clean energy research and advocacy organization said in a memo Wednesday to Gov.-elect Janet Mills.
Acadia Center of Rockport said that modernizing the state’s transportation system alone could produce more than $3.8 billion in new economic benefits, add 8,700 new jobs and create $2.3 billion in public health and other benefits.
Read the full article from Bangor Daily News here.
HARTFORD – Today, Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) selected Deepwater Wind’s proposal for 200 MW of offshore wind as one of the winning bids in an open request for proposals to support nascent energy technologies, including fuel cells and anaerobic digestors in addition to offshore wind. The selection builds on the regional momentum for offshore wind, following the selection of two projects totaling 1200 MW by Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind’s winning project is estimated to power about 91,000 homes.
“Connecticut today is showing the region that it wants to participate in the budding offshore wind market and will share in the benefits of being an early mover in adopting this technology,” said Emily Lewis, a policy analyst at Acadia Center. “Acadia Center commends DEEP on taking this important step to procure offshore wind for the state. We hope Connecticut continues to build on this commitment by setting an ambitious offshore wind mandate that creates a sustainable offshore wind industry and continued economic growth.”
The full details of the bid are still hidden until the contracts are completed, but information released to the public indicates that Deepwater Wind’s bid includes:
A commitment of at least $15 million for the New London State Pier;
Plans for significant in-state construction and assembly operations, leading to 1400 direct, indirect, and induced jobs in Connecticut;
Collaboration with local entities to support workforce development, research and economic growth.
“This announcement, combined with the state’s recent commitment of bond funding to revitalize the State Pier, demonstrates that Connecticut is serious about securing its share of the highly-paid offshore wind jobs coming to the Northeast,” said John Humphries, lead organizer for the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs. “Whether it’s on the docks, in the water or on the factory floor, Connecticut has the skilled labor needed to jumpstart this new industry bringing clean energy to the region.”
“The building trades workforce of Eastern Connecticut is eager to do whatever is needed to support this growing industry,” said Keith Brothers, president of the New London-Norwich Building and Construction Trades Council. “We urge the Administration and developers to ensure the highest quality construction and timely completion by negotiating project labor agreements for both the port infrastructure and offshore wind projects. Connecticut’s workers are ready to build and maintain the turbines and all the onshore facilities.”
That message was echoed by Sean Daly, Business Manager and member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 90. “IBEW’s skilled electricians have already installed grid-scale solar projects and onshore wind turbines here in Connecticut. Now we’re eager to help bring this new source of clean energy to the state. And if the legislature authorizes more offshore wind purchases, we look forward to hiring and training new workers. This new industry will be good for our workers and their families, and it will be good for our communities.”
Tony Walter, President of the CT State Council of Machinists, also urged state leaders to encourage Deepwater Wind to invest in local supply-chain development. “From aerospace to submarines, Connecticut’s Machinists provide precision manufacturing outcomes every day. The offshore wind industry will need high-quality parts and equipment, and we should be building them here in Connecticut.”
Monday’s session came a few days after the state Bonding Commission backed Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s push to revitalize State Pier with a $15 million investment. Hosted by RENEW Northeast, Acadia Center and the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, the discussion was part of an offshore wind roadshow organized by the Trade Council of Denmark in North America and featuring about 15 companies across the supply chain.
As a deepwater port with no overhead obstructions, New London could, with upgrades, accommodate some assembly of wind turbines, foundations and substations while providing space for staging the large components for delivery to wind farms, state and local officials say. No turbines are planned for off the southeastern Connecticut coastline.
Read the full article from The Day here (article may be behind paywall).
Connecticut’s transportation system – the network of highways, trains, public transit, and walking and biking corridors – is vital to the state’s economy as it facilitates movement of goods and connects people to jobs and opportunities. However, the system needs critical updates to continue to support the state.
At the same time, the transportation system is the largest source (41%) of Connecticut’s greenhouse gas emissions (“GHGs”), which must be reduced for the state to meet its climate commitments.
These two challenges of improving the transportation system and reducing GHGs can be addressed by applying a policy model that has been successfully used to clean up electricity generation and raise funds through emissions reductions.
The Cap and Invest Model
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”) established in 2009 put a price on carbon emissions from electricity generation and used the proceeds to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Since the program began:
CO2 emissions in the region have dropped by 50%
$4 billion of economic activity has been generated
Tens of thousands of jobs have been created.1
Connecticut was a founding member of this regional cap-and-invest program, and as of 2017 had spent about $201 million of RGGI proceeds on clean energy projects. As of 2014, the latest figures available, RGGI expenditures added about $245 million to Connecticut’s economy, created 2,200 job-years, and helped avoid $13 million in health impacts.2
A similar regional cap-and-invest program could be applied to transportation to raise revenues, reduce emissions, and stimulate the economy. To better understand this opportunity, Acadia Center looked at a scenario that reduced Connecticut’s transportation GHGs 4%, or nearly 4 million metric tons of CO2, by 2030 compared to the baseline scenario from EnergyVision 2030.3 This level of emissions reductions is aligned with Georgetown Climate Center’s estimate for market-based policy compared to existing Federal policies.4
Revenue and Reinvestment Strategies
Based on a $15/ton carbon price,5 the state could generate about $2.5 billion in revenue between 2019-2030 by capping emissions. Connecticut could allocate these funds in many ways to improve transportation and reduce GHGs. For example:
Maximizing transportation GHG reductions by designating 100% of the program proceeds to emissions reduction measures, such as transit expansion, consumer electric vehicle and charging infrastructure rebates, and electrification of medium and heavy-duty vehicles like transit or school buses.
Designating funding for infrastructure maintenance and transit operations, which could also reduce GHGs (by reducing traffic congestion, for example) as an ancillary benefit.
To provide an example of the revenue that could be generated by a cap-and-invest program, Acadia Center examined a 50/50 portfolio, with half of the program proceeds going to maintenance of infrastructure and half going to specific GHG reduction measures (Table 1). This portfolio is only provided as a point of reference, not a recommendation, and it does not include the full suite of activities that could be funded with proceeds.
Table 1: Simplified Reinvestment Portfolio for Connecticut’s Proceeds from Transportation Climate Policy
Benefits from Reinvestment
By examining the benefits of similar transportation expenditures in Connecticut and the U.S., Acadia Center has estimated some of the economic activity and other monetary benefits a 50/50 portfolio could generate (Figure 1). The total benefits from both tracks of spending are estimated at:
$10.3 billion in economic output.
$4.3 billion in added personal income.
$11.6 billion in other benefits including fewer hours spent in traffic (not including the value of reduced GHG emissions).
Over 3,000 long-term jobs created (i.e. not temporary construction jobs).
$86 million in savings from avoided GHG emissions7 avoided costs.
Figure 1: Increased Economic Activity and Other Benefits from Reinvesting Transportation Climate Policy Revenues8
3See Acadia Center’s EnergyVision 2030 Technical Appendix for modeling details. The Baseline scenario includes existing EPA/DOT fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles, as well as the existing Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards through 2025.
Emily Lewis with the environmental advocacy group Acadia Center, said it’s good the state is trying to get power from offshore wind. But she and Bates both said Connecticut needs to act fast. That’s because Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey all have more aggressive offshore wind goals.
“If Connecticut comes in strong with a big commitment to offshore wind, they’re more likely to get those economic development benefits,” Lewis said. “Whereas, if they don’t, the other states will get it and then Connecticut will just be using those ports for their own construction.”
Nicholas argued the “existential threats” hypothesized by dealers are overblown. He cited data analyzed by Acadia Center and the U.S. Department of Labor showing dealerships in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey — states that allow direct sales — haven’t seen job losses at all.
Read the full article from The Day here (article may not be available without subscription).
HARTFORD, CT — Acadia Center today released a new analysis that shows there has been no negative impact on car dealership employment levels in states that allow the direct sales of electric vehicles (EVs) to consumers. Over the past several years, Connecticut has debated whether to permit the direct sale of EVs by manufacturers. Connecticut is one of only a few states that prohibit this practice. The Connecticut General Assembly is currently deciding whether to advance H.B. 7097, a bill that would allow direct sales of EVs in the state.
“EV direct sales are a smart move with no downside for Connecticut,” said Bill Dornbos, Connecticut Director and Senior Attorney at Acadia Center. “Not only does it help open the EV market for consumers, but it will also help reduce the state’s increasing greenhouse gas emissions while bringing in more sales tax revenue. We need new policies like direct sales that remove barriers to EV market penetration so we can realize their immense economic and climate benefits.”
Progress on EV direct sales has been stalled over the speculation that direct sales could negatively impact employment at existing Connecticut car dealerships. Today’s empirical analysis shows that this concern has not materialized in other states that have EV direct sales.
“This research puts to rest the main argument against EV direct sales in Connecticut,” said Emily Lewis O’Brien, Policy Analyst at Acadia Center. “We hope the debate can now move forward and EV manufacturers can bring more of these clean vehicles to the state. Direct sales are just another tool to promote EVs and give consumers more clean transportation options.”
With today’s energy mix in the Northeast, EVs emit about 75% less greenhouse gases than conventional vehicles. EVs also cost about half as much to fuel, even with low gas prices, and provide major benefits to public health, energy independence, and the regional economy. Recognizing these benefits, Connecticut committed with other states in the Northeast to put 1.4 million zero-emission vehicles, primarily EVs, on the road by 2025.
Acadia Center analyzed employment data in the auto dealer industry from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2012-2016 and the New York Department of Labor for 2009-2016. The report is available here.