Republicans in Connecticut’s state government are putting in effort to convince voters and lawmakers on the Regulation Review Committee that a looming electric vehicle mandate isn’t necessary to reduce carbon and other pollutant emissions.
On Wednesday, party leaders from both the State Senate and House of Representatives held a press conference arguing that following California’s emissions standards isn’t right for the state. Under current state law, Connecticut ties any updates to these standards to those set on the West Coast. This year, that means a phased-in ban on the sale of new gas-powered vehicles starting in 2035.
Republicans and stakeholders in the fuel and trucking industries, as well as those that utilize vehicles as the main element of their businesses, have said that the move is too much, too soon, and have argued that it would disenfranchise low and middle-income families and small business owners.
Additionally, Republican lawmakers have said that the state’s energy grid would be unable to produce or supply the amount of power needed to maintain a large number of electric vehicles. This has been supported by energy companies, who have said it would require more than $2 billion in infrastructure upgrades to handle the load. This assumes a large scale conversion in 2035, though gas-powered vehicles would still be allowed on the used market and those already on the road would not be removed.
A vote on whether to stick to the 2035 mandate is set for the Regulation Review Committee on November 28th.
In advance of that meeting, Senate Republicans have now released their own plan to lower emissions without banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles. The plan includes:
- Switching from California’s standards to the federal EPA standards
- Expanding tax credits to fuel-efficient vehicles
- Encouraging green workweek schedules
- Using Federal and State funds to add roundabouts and expand areas with traffic bottlenecks
- Smart traffic lights to improve congestion
- Expanding public transportation
- Adding EV charging stations
- Investing in recycling infrastructure in Connecticut
- Adding greenspaces, greenways, and open spaces
- Energy-efficient housing
- Properly investing the Clean Air Act Fund and Emission Exemption Fee
- Electric grid improvement
“There is a better way to achieving cleaner air, and we can do it without burdening our residents with unaffordable and unachievable mandates,” Republican Senate Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, said in a press release. “We offer these policy solutions in hopes that they will be well-received by the majority. Connecticut working and middle class families deserve better than a ban with no plan.”
Details are also available on a new website.