Hartford, CT – With a unanimous vote of the New Haven Board of Alders, last night New Haven became the latest Connecticut municipality to pass a resolution in support of the regional cap-and-invest program, the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). Town and city leaders have stressed that they see supporting TCI as part of their solemn duty to protect the health of their constituents and the prosperity of their communities.
“Momentum is growing because Connecticut residents and municipal leaders know the Transportation and Climate Initiative will both slash air pollution and bring much-needed investments to our communities,” said Save the Sound Climate and Energy Attorney Charles Rothenberger. “We applaud New Haven for taking a leadership role that demonstrates our Board of Alders and Mayor understand the urgency of climate action.”
As reported in the New Haven Independent, Downtown/Yale Alder Eli Sabin, who introduced the resolution, said, “As a coastal community in New Haven, it’s important to take as much action as we can to protect our city from increased flooding and worse storms going forward.”
East Rock Alder Anna Festa, who serves as City Services and Environmental Policy (CSEP) Committee Chair, emphasized that at least 50 percent of the money raised through TCI will go towards communities like New Haven that are overburdened by transportation air pollution and/or underserved by existing transportation services, saying, “TCI will bring jobs, cleaner air, and better infrastructure to our city. Passing this resolution tells our state leaders how important TCI is for our community.” Connecticut’s TCI implementation plan includes establishment of an Equity Advisory Board to guide use of the investments.
Hartford passed its resolution on October 12, 2021. “I am proud of the work the City of Hartford is doing to address climate change, but there is still so much to be done,” said Hartford City Council President Maly D. Rosado. “City Council has joined with our Mayor to prioritize sustainable, meaningful, and long-term climate solutions. The TCI program is one very important piece of the puzzle and I am grateful for the continuing efforts of activists, environmental organizations, and community leaders. I hope this initiative provides a pathway for further collaboration with other municipalities in the development of a local/regional action plan to meet the immediate needs of residents most impacted by this crisis.”
West Hartford passed its resolution on September 27, 2021. West Hartford Town Councilor Ben Wenograd said: “Climate change is real; it is a disaster. We are all talking about weather, about fires, about 200-year storms that seem to happen twice in a year…this is not something that we get to sit back on, it is a crisis. Now, as other cities and towns urge the legislature to take up this initiative, I offer them my full support. While we have made progress by increasing bike usage and infrastructure, encouraging transit-oriented development, and passing a comprehensive clean energy plan, the most significant work needs to happen at the state and regional level. We are all in this together.”
Other municipalities considering TCI resolutions include Bridgeport and Norwalk.
Bridgeport City Councilor Scott Burns said: “Bridgeport has been a hub of transportation and energy generation for decades and as a consequence suffers from a legacy of environmental injustice. TCI enables us to begin to reverse these conditions and implement changes that will bring better health to our community and improved economic opportunities for our residents. It’s hard to imagine Connecticut’s most populous city on Long Island Sound has poor air quality, but that’s the reality. And we can’t wait for the federal government to bring about meaningful steps to address climate change here in southern New England. TCI is a rational and market-based plan to reach these goals.”
Norwalk City Councilor Dominique Johnson said: “We all have a fundamental right to breathe clean air. Pollution from I-95 disproportionately affects our urban core communities here in Norwalk and is just one important aspect of the TCI for our city. The funding TCI will provide our communities is an important part of the state and federal funds needed at the local level to proactively carry out the clean energy and climate resilient plans our future generations are depending on to live a healthy and safe life in our city.”
Transportation pollution has resulted in poor air quality in communities statewide. Elected officials have proclaimed support for TCI because it will bring improved air quality, reduced health burdens, and better transportation infrastructure and services. Adoption of TCI will result in health and economic benefits for urban, suburban, and rural communities.
In addition to the resolutions, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, and Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim are among the chief municipal officials who have publicly endorsed TCI.
On December 21, 2020, Governor Ned Lamont signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to work on the implementation of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), a regional cap and invest program dedicated to combating the climate crisis by reducing emissions from the transportation sector and reinvesting proceeds in transportation infrastructure. Now the state legislature must reconvene a special session to authorize the program through legislation. As endorsed by the legislature’s Environment Committee, the program would require that at least 50 percent of TCI investments be made in communities that suffer serious health impacts from air pollution or that are underserved by transportation infrastructure, and establishes an equity advisory council to guide these investments.
More information about the air quality, economic, and public health benefits of TCI is available at www.cttransportationfuture.org.