The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The Transportation and Climate Initiative is a fairy tale

(John Raoux/AP)
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Former Maryland governor Parris N. Glendening’s (D) Feb. 23 Local Opinions essay, “From Virginia to Maine, we need better transit, not more roads,” promoted a climate initiative that offers the familiar ploy of taxing commuters and business fleets to pay for somebody else’s transportation decisions. He failed to mention that the carbon car tax imposed by the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) would add at least 17 cents per gallon to gasoline and diesel (rising in future years) and ration that fuel by imposing annual reductions in the amount of fuel permitted to be sold — two facts necessary for an honest conversation.

Higher costs for less available fuel would devastate Virginians, especially poorer and rural Virginians on whom the tax’s impact would be disproportionate and who have little alternative to motor vehicles. The region’s motorists cannot pay enough additional taxes to reverse decades of human settlement patterns and fund all the mass transit, bike lanes and walking trails needed to get drivers out of their cars and trucks.

Add to that additional costs for businesses, local government and schools with their fleets of repair and delivery trucks, school buses and emergency vehicles (conversion to electric: as much as $400,000 a pop), and TCI is a fairy tale.

Mr. Glendening is right that people should offer their comments online at transportationandclimate.org to shape the initiative.  But they should do so only after researching all the information and knowing how much this will cost them, and they should turn TCI down.

Christian N. Braunlich, Alexandria

The writer is president of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.

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