HARTFORD — A sweeping bill to reduce vehicle emissions in Connecticut, including the likely adoption of California’s clean air standards for some trucks and a requirement that all school buses be emissions-free by 2040, was presented to Governor Ned Lamont’s office on Friday. .
The 95-52 party line vote in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives comes days after the General Assembly passed legislation which officially sets a 2040 target for having a carbon-free electricity supply. The vehicle emissions bill had previously been approved by the Senate, which is also controlled by Democrats.
“The science hasn’t always been as clear as it is now,” said Rep. Roland Lamar, D-New Haven, co-chair of the transportation committee. “But what we know now is that we have an opportunity to make meaningful change for the future of my young children, for your young children, for children across Connecticut.”
While Democrats have pointed out that Connecticut can leverage planned federal transportation infrastructure law funds to help pay for many initiatives in The law projectRepublican lawmakers questioned whether taxpayers would ultimately be able to afford the plan and whether the power grid would be able to handle the expected increased demand.
“It’s always too much, too soon. And I think Democrats are looking for a clean energy headline,” said House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford. “But when we start to unpack all of this, we have to be responsible (for) how it is implemented. Is the infrastructure there to support all these electric vehicles and trucks? No. Do we want to impose California standards (standards), when California can’t even meet those standards and is facing gas prices of $7 a gallon? We want to go this route? Nope.”
Under the bill, the state of Connecticut’s schedule to electrify its vehicle fleet will be accelerated. While current law requires half of cars and light trucks purchased or leased by the state to be zero-emission vehicles by January 1, 2030, this legislation requires the state to meet the 50% threshold. by January 1, 2026, 75% by January 1, 2028 and 100% by January 1, 2030.
It also creates a new staggered schedule for the transition underway in Connecticut zero-emission school buses. Buses in school districts located wholly or partially in an economically challenged “environmental justice community” must be zero-emission buses starting January 1, 2030. The rest of the districts must have zero-emission or alternative-fuel school bus fleets by January 1, 2030. 1, 2040.
“We should help the kids who need the most help first,” said Rep. Mary Mushinsky, D-Wallingford, who praised the “forward-thinking” legislation for focusing first on students living in more densely populated neighborhoods, where high rates of asthma are prevalent.
The provision in the emissions bill allowing Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes to adopt California’s standards regulations for medium and heavy-duty trucks has was among the most criticized on Friday, with some Republicans expressing concern that Connecticut was tied to actions in another state. If Dykes adopts the regulations, as expected, it is required to update them whenever California makes changes.
“I don’t want to just usurp our legislature and adopt California standards and adopt those standards in the future,” said Rep. John Piscopo, R-Thomaston. “I can’t put my arms around this. That does not make any sense.”
The bill also creates a “Right of Tenants to Bill,” which requires landlords in most cases to approve written requests from tenants to install electric vehicle charging stations; require that a certain percentage of parking spaces in new construction projects have vehicle charging station infrastructure or charging stations; and requires DEEP to prioritize financial incentives for low-income state residents who purchase battery electric, plug-in hybrid or fuel cell electric vehicles.
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