Daily Chronicle: TCI will be ‘banner bill’ for 2020 climate caucus lawmakers

By Guy Page

The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) will be the “banner bill” for the Vermont Legislature Climate Solutions Caucus in 2020, Sen. Chris Pearson, D/P–Chittenden, told about 50 climate-minded lawmakers and advocates at an informal State House meeting Wednesday morning.

The Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) is a 13-state initiative formed to reduce transportation emissions by charging a “pollution fee” to fuel dealers, who would then pass along costs to consumers at the pump. Early estimated costs are 5-18 cents per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel.

Guy Page

“TCI is the banner bill, absolutely,” Pearson said at the informal meeting held in the Vermont State House cafeteria before the daylong scheduled legislative briefing.

Later in the day, comments by Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore suggested the administration of Gov. Phil Scott could back the TCI, if some concerns are met. At an 11 a.m. all-legislators briefing, Sen. Chris Bray, D-Addison, asked Moore to explain the administration’s position on the TCI given Gov. Phil Scott’s public non-support for a carbon tax. Moore answered, “Where those investments get made is the key to that conversation. A carbon tax is generating revenue without saying where those revenues will go. The administration has a strong desire to see [investments in economic development and affordability].”

Sen. Bray pressed: “If we don’t have those funds coming in, we’re going to be hamstrung” in making those investments. Moore repeated that investment in economic development and affordability “is going to be a key part of this solution going forward.”

But Moore cautioned, “The rural character of Vermont is a challenge in thinking how this program will work.”

GOP gubernatorial candidate John Klar attended the briefing and heard Moore’s comments. “I was surprised to hear such a statement,” he told Vermont Daily Chronicle afterwards. “She [Moore] suggested that the determination of whether or not TCI met the definition of a carbon tax was dependent on how collected funds were expended. But more, she seemingly implied that Governor Scott was waiting to be informed of the destination of taxes collected to determine whether or not this tax is a tax.”

“I am a former tax attorney,” Klar said. “I suffer no definitial handicaps that obscure my comprehension of what a tax is. The TCI is a carbon tax. (Or maybe the sales tax is not a tax either, so long as the money is spent well.)”

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Legislators were briefed today on TCI, water quality, transportation spending.

The TCI isn’t the only carbon-reduction idea under discussion. At the informal State House gathering, Pearson said Vermonters have given Climate Solutions Caucus lawmakers a “barrage of ideas,” including:

Reduce highway speed limit to 55 MPH, or post road signs encouraging drivers to save money by reducing speed.

Some Vermonters say that with more effective building codes, the state can “start having a strategy for pushing those folks further for net zero and solar,” Pearson said.

“Green” mortgages – Big mortgage lenders like Freddie Mac are interested in loaning money at favorable interest rates for homes with rooftop solar, but they want to ensure homeowners follow through with installation, Pearson said.

Sustainable funding for weatherization through energy efficiency management by the State of Vermont.

Reduce food waste and promote reproductive choice. Pearson mentioned recommendations by experts asked how best to reduce carbon emissions. Their advice: “educating women, reproductive choice,” Pearson said. “Well, we’ve done that.” Also, reducing food waste will reduce food-production related emissions, he said.

Educate Vermont school children. Climate Solutions Caucus leader Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D-Bradford) said she heard concern expressed by Vermonters that schools are unwilling to teach about climate change because it’s “political.”

School officials must be told that “these solutions are not political, they are based on the science,” Copeland-Hanzas said. “If they (parents) are concerned students aren’t learning climate science, help them find a way to.”

In other transportation news, infrastructure improvements needed for the proposed commuter rail between Barre and Montpelier will cost between $67-$96 million, states a Vermont Agency of Transportation study published Dec. 2.

The work would take five years to finish. The feasibility study was requested after renewable power developer David Blittersdorf expressed a wish to establish a commuter line of self-propelled diesel-powered cars on existing tracks between Barre and Montpelier.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports at the Vermont Daily Chronicle.

Image courtesy of Guy Page

6 thoughts on “Daily Chronicle: TCI will be ‘banner bill’ for 2020 climate caucus lawmakers

  1. TCI? With all the problems in Vermont such as underfunded pensions, infrastructure, high real estate taxes, failing schools, unfavorable business climate to name a few, I for one am getting tired of Montpelirt’s time being wasted low value issues such as climate change, same sex marriage, legalization of marijuana, racial issues et al. The entire list of priorities in Montpelier is out of wack. It’s time to go back to the drawing board.

  2. SO much I could say about this, but I’ll pick one – “Reduce food waste and promote reproductive choice”. For those who thought all the fuss about reproductive rights this past year in Montpelier had ANYTHING to do with “women’s health”, we can now see it was all about reducing CO2! What a great plan Rep. Pearson – let’s save the planet by killing unborn babies! How long before they drop the guise of “choice” for mandatory population control? This abomination is coupled with “reduce food waste”. Why don’t we destroy all the Vermont farms and just make Soylent Green from aborted babies? That would be “efficient”.
    Make no mistake – none of this is about climate change. That fraudulent claim is merely a vehicle for control of all the planet’s resources and inhabitants.

  3. It appears as though the carpetbaggers in Montpelier believe everybody north of Chittenden county is poor, and dumb, as dirt. They’re probably not aware that Smuggler’s Notch was actually used by our ancestors for – smuggling.

    Same thing we’re more than capable of doing with gas, diesel, propane and anything else they want to impose a fee or tax on.

  4. TCI will probably be the last straw to kick out the rest of the working class that will migrate to other tax friendly States. Who will be left to pay for their tax and spend mandates??
    I hate to really say this but our legislature is losing their minds with all their stupid ideas.

  5. Imagine, if you will, a group of people who believe that they can change the planets temperature and influence “Climate Change” by levying a tax. I would have better success standing in a 5 gallon bucket and lifting myself up by the handle.

    Here in Vermont we have 4.6 million acres of forest (USDA Data). Each 1/2 acre of forest provides 1 ton of carbon offset, thats enough carbon offset for 80+ million people. There are only ~625,000 people here in Vermont.

    Tell me again why we need carbon taxes…..I’ll wait.

  6. The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) will be a “banner bill” for Vermont’s
    Legislature yup, just another progressive boondoggle proposal !!

    So, Sen. Chris Pearson, D/P–Chittenden, told about 50 climate-minded lawmakers and
    advocates at an informal State House meeting, charging a “pollution fee” to fuel dealers,
    estimated costs are ” 5-18 cents per gallon ” of gasoline and diesel fuel and we all know
    who will be paying it……… working Vermonter’s !!

    Since the Governor has stated, he would not sign any ” Carbon Tax “, I guess Sen.Pearson
    figures the Governor must be a little slow, and he wouldn’t catch on if he called it a fee ??

    Gov. Scott’s ” office” was waiting to be informed of the destination of taxes collected to
    determine whether or not this ” tax is a tax.”………What !!

    God Help us, we’re doomed.

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