OP-ED
The Most Important Piece of Legislation You Have Never Heard Of
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  • June 08, 2021

By way of introduction, I am the CEO of a Connecticut-based business that manufactures commercial-grade chargers for electric vehicles (EVs). We are the only company whose chargers are Made in America. And we make them here in Oxford, Connecticut.  

The global transition to EV’s is no longer an if, but how quickly. This transition is happening faster than anyone expected. Its impacts will be felt across the economy and by every American. Trillions of dollars will flow during this decade into everything from the vehicles, to battery technology, the electrical grid, IoT, cellular, autonomous vehicles, and infrastructure. And there is a race by each state to attract the companies and the millions of jobs that will be created in this new economy. 

The decisions on which states will win in attracting these jobs and the money that will flow with them is being decided today – Nevada, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Michigan have already moved out in front. In the next 24 months, the race will be over, and the winners decided. Make no mistake, every state is in a no-holds barred fight to attract these jobs. To be very blunt, Connecticut is already losing the race.  We are 22nd in the nation in terms of EV charger installations per capita.

Last year, Gov. Ned Lamont released a well-thought out and detailed strategy for Connecticut – the EV Roadmap. Last December, he signed an MOU with Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia pledging to invest $300 million per year in cleaner transportation choices and healthier communities. Eight other Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern states are also looking to join. The bipartisan Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P) is designed to bring that MOU to life, cutting greenhouse gases and particulates from motor vehicles by 26% and to generate a total of more than $3 billion dollars over 10 years to invest in equitable, less polluting transportation options, school buses, faster trains and to help energize the economic recovery.  

The brilliance of TCI-P is that it does not require taxpayer funding. Instead, it would require large gasoline and diesel fuel suppliers to purchase “allowances” for the pollution caused by the fuels they sell in our state.

As Gov. Lamont himself said: “Participating in the TCI-P will help grow our economy through a fresh injection of capital to provide for jobs and new infrastructure. This collaboration will cut our greenhouse gas emissions, and it will make our urban centers healthier, after decades of being adversely impacted by the emissions being released by traffic every day. Connecticut has always taken pride in our leadership role when it comes to climate, and when we can combine that with a stronger economy, fast transit systems, and regional cooperation, that’s a win for all of us.”

Using our company as an example, this year we need to quadruple our manufacturing space, double our headcount by the end of the year and double it again by this time next year. Most of these jobs will be in advanced manufacturing, electrical and software engineering. Many of our employees are graduates of the community college system. But it’s not just our company, 70% of the components we buy come from companies within 80 miles of Oxford, Connecticut – providing more jobs and revenue to the state. Not to mention we have plans to significantly expand our R&D facility in Hartford.

So TCI-P will bring advanced manufacturing jobs to the state, improve our health and infrastructure, boost our flagging economy and help meet our climate change goals. And it will do that without costing the taxpayer a dime. And it also sends a signal to businesses like ours around the country that Connecticut is open for business in the new economy. So why is the bill dying in the legislature? And why is our governor not doing more to save it, despite being a vocal supporter less than six months ago?

I know the gasoline lobby is against the bill, but their opposition is short-sighted. EV’s are coming whether they like it or not. Gasoline and diesel will disappear as a transportation fuel-just look at what Shell, BP, and the shareholders of Exxon are saying about the future of their businesses – we are probably already at peak oil and it’s downhill from here. TCI-P provides funding for those local gas station and convenience store operators to start the process of converting their gas stations to this new reality and create charging hubs. Through their opposition, they are cutting the very lifeline to thrive in the future.

If the TCI-P bill is not passed, it will be because our representatives in Hartford lack the vision and understanding of what is happening in the economy. In three years’ time, the voters of Connecticut will be asking some very difficult questions: where did all the jobs go? Why is Connecticut not participating in the largest US manufacturing boom in the last 100 years? Who let this slip from our hands?

TCI-P is a pro-jobs, pro-manufacturing, pro-environment piece of legislation and does not put the burden on the taxpayers but on the companies who are freely polluting our air and damaging our and our children’s health.  TCI-P alone will not solve all the issues, but it is a very smartly designed piece of legislation, a tremendous start and an economic boost to the state.

To the governor, our state senators (especially Senators Bob Duff and Martin Looney) and our representatives – please do your job and pass this critical piece of legislation. This is one piece of legislation that is undeniably good for your constituents and for the state. As Gov. Lamont himself said: TCI-P “is a win for all of us.”