A Connecticut legislative committee this week approved legislation implementing a cap-and-trade program designed to fund transit projects and reduce vehicle emissions.

The Environment Committee passed SB 884 on a 32-11 party line vote March 31.

The bill allows the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to implement the Transportation Climate Initiative Program, joining Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C.   

TCI creates a cap-and-trade program requiring transportation fuel suppliers to purchase permits or allowances at auction to cover emissions from fossil fuels. 

Over the next 10 years, the number of allowances will decrease leading to an increase in the cost of those permits. 

Beginning in 2023, the initial cost passed to consumers is reported to be 5 cents per gallon with a cap of 9 cents per gallon—eventually increasing to a cap of approximately 26 cents per gallon.

Revenue Forecasts

TCI will generate an estimated $89 million in 2023, increasing to as much as $117 million in 2032.

Funds derived from the program will be placed in a separate account within the Special Transportation Fund.

Those funds will be allocated to projects such as the electrification of busways, construction and improvement of bikeways, intersection roundabout conversions, traffic signal modernization and synchronization, railroad system improvements, expanding access to broadband Internet, ride sharing, and more.  

The bill also requires DEEP and the Department of Transportation to create an advisory board in which 50% of the funds must be used in communities overburdened by pollution or communities underserved by the transportation system.

The advisory board will be made up of members representing those communities and provide input on how these funds should be spent.  

SB 884 nows move to the next step in the legislative process, heading to the nonpartisan offices for additional information including a fiscal note and final drafting, before being sent to the Senate floor.