Whether looking at it from an environmental or business perspective, there is no doubt that the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is a winning strategy. TCI will be a catalyst for bolstering manufacturing, spurring innovation, and ushering in clean energy jobs. It will give Connecticut a technological advantage while being a step in the right direction in addressing the threat of climate change.
From a business perspective, the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is a catalyst to bolster manufacturing, to spur innovation, to bring jobs, and to give a technological edge to our state while being a step in the right direction in addressing the threat of climate change.
TCI, a regional cap-and-invest program, will reduce green-house emissions while generating $100M per year in investments dedicated to improving public transit, increasing pedestrian and cyclist safety, and electrifying buses and trucks.
Connecticut has an illustrious manufacturing and innovative past when it comes to transportation, from bicycles to shipbuilding, and even with the first ever manufactured electric car. Few may know that the car was the Columbia Victoria, in which President Theodore Roosevelt cruised the streets of Hartford in 1902. TCI, which is currently in front of our state legislature, is a rare opportunity to resurrect and reconnect with this prestigious history.
Our history matters, it is why so many visit our beautiful state every year, and this is also why Connecticut benefits from a healthy tourism industry. Sadly, our antiquated transportation system undermines this vital sector. For example, when a family sits for three hours on I-95 while visiting Connecticut, they will not be eager to come back. We have no choice but to modernize our transportation system and to improve our infrastructure from top to bottom.
Our state remains nonetheless attractive to manufacturers, thanks to a skilled workforce, strong community colleges, and creative business leaders. For instance, Connecticut hosts the only two companies that manufacture electric vehicle chargers, a $500B industry. However, 90% of these chargers are exported out-of-state. If we invest in this infrastructure, we will create local jobs for general contractors, electricians, engineers, and architects. Presently many states are fighting for these jobs as Nevada, Texas, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia are looking to bring the jobs to their states.
Not only that, but TCI offers opportunities for business expansion. For example, gas stations can reinvent themselves. We all know that it takes a little longer to charge an electric car than to fuel a tank with gasoline. This means customers will be at the station longer, which is a dream to any business owner. Gas station convenience stores could become destinations where EV drivers enjoy cappuccinos or artisan bakery goods – which are products with much higher margins than a candy bar.
As business leaders, we cannot ignore the fact that climate change is already presenting a threat to our communities and must be addressed. Our state is one of the worst states for air quality in our nation and if we don’t respond, Connecticut will become a less desirable place to live and do business. By investing in clean and sustainable transportation, by improving our transit system, we are helping Connecticut thrive while fighting climate change.
The first-ever manufactured electric car, the Columbia Victoria and its inventor Albert Augustus Pope, were ahead of their time but today is certainly the moment to embrace innovations. More than a century after President Roosevelt’s electric ride in Hartford, another President, Joe Biden took a Ford electric pick-up truck for a test drive, highlighting the United States’ industrial and technological leadership.
While the world is transitioning away from fossil fuels, members of the Connecticut General Assembly are now faced with a clear choice. Stall the economy of Connecticut or be thoughtful and bold by embracing economic growth, innovation, and jobs.
Michael Frisbie is owner of Noble Energy Real Estate Holdings and Noble Gas, Inc., Tony Sheridan is President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, and Paul Vosper is President and CEO of Juice Bar. This op-ed was made possible by Transport Hartford Academy at the Center for Latino Progress.
The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com.