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Proceed cautiously on plan

Several New England governors remain concerned about the recently proposed Transportation and Climate Initiative, which they say may increase gas prices throughout New England.

The initiative is aimed at a dozen Northeast and mid-Atlantic states and would take effect in 2022. It would address pollution from transportation – which represents 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the region, the largest source of emissions. The area has tens of millions of registered vehicles.

New Hampshire’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said the state will not sign on to participate, as did Vermont Gov. Phil Scott. Maine Gov. Janet Mills cited unique transportation issues and is opting to take a cautious approach to the proposal.

Other states, like Virginia, also are being hesitant.

“I am happy to see that other governors are following my lead in rightfully sounding the alarm on this new gas tax,” Sununu said in a statement. “New Hampshire is proof that the best environmental stewardship can be achieved without massive tax schemes.”

Under the Transportation and Climate Initiative, wholesale fuel companies would be required to purchase pollution allowances at auction. The sale of those allowances could generate billions for states to invest in carbon-reducing transportation options – like electric buses, electric car charging stations, bike lanes and sidewalks.

It’s clear something must be done to reduce carbon emissions and to do everything possible to curb climate change. Is the solution jumping into an initiative that may raise gas prices via a tax? Not at the moment. What needs done is a well-thought-out plan that will encourage the use and purchase of electric-powered vehicles. That, coupled additional efforts by automakers to reduce emissions and making current eco-friendly vehicles more affordable is a good start that can buy time to study the issue and develop a real plan that will benefit the environment.

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