Support for TCI Gas Tax Hikes Is Crumbling [OPINION]
Two more states appear ready to abandon the Transportation Climate Initiative, or TCI. A coalition of governors, mainly in the northeast, has been discussing a possible compact to reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector while generating revenue for transportation projects through a sharp increase in each state's gas tax.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu was the first of 12 governors to withdraw from the TCI. Sununu tweeted that he “will not force Granite Staters to pay more for their gas just to subsidize other state's crumbling infrastructure.” Sununu says the TCI would bring little benefit to his and other rural states: “Under this scheme, NH drivers would be forced to pay a significant new gas tax with little environmental benefit to NH. Rural communities would be left at a severe disadvantage if we participated in the TCI, as drivers will bear the brunt of the artificially higher gas prices.”
Vermont Governor Phil Scott appears to be ready to abandon ship as well, saying many Vermonters have to travel great distances to get to work. "I simply cannot support proposals that will make things more expensive for them," the governor said.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont also has issues with the TCI. Lamont tells WNPR radio: "Raising the gas tax, which frankly is what many Republican states have done to pay for transportation, is 100 percent paid for by Connecticut residents and probably not the way to go."
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is still a supporter of the TCI. Faced with huge transportation and infrastructure issues, Baker figures the TCI could generate some $500 million for Massachusetts. So what if you get soaked at the gas pump?
With support for the TCI appearing to dwindle, the State House News Service says it remains unclear how many of the 12 states can withdraw before the coalition falls apart completely.
This whole thing was a lame brain idea from the start, so here's hoping more governors wake up and walk away while they can.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.