By Rob Roper
Energy News Network ran a story on April 9 about what’s happening with the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), the proposed interstate carbon tax on gasoline and diesel motor fuels. Sadly, despite all the damage that the COVID-19 economic shutdown has done, TCI is still moving along behind the scenes. Quoted multiple times in the ENN story is the Scott administration’s very own Peter Walke.
“Our ability to work through the details of what that deal looks like hasn’t been significantly impacted,” said Peter Walke, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. “Most of the teams working on it are working at home and haven’t been affected at this point by the virus.”
TCI would mean an annual $5 billion to $7 billion regional tax on motor fuels, Vermont’s share of which would be about $90 million. That number would likely increase as time goes by. Suffice to say that the last thing Vermont (or anyplace) will need as we try to recover from the economic body blow of this shutdown is a new tax on, literally, the fuel that makes our economy run.
Gov. Phil Scott has hinted that he doesn’t support TCI, but if that’s really the case it’s time for him to tell his staff to get with the program and pull the plug on this “boondoggle,” to use New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s word.
TCI was a bad idea before the COVID-19 recession. Today it is absolutely unthinkable.