Republicans Say Connecticut is Ill Prepared for Mandated Switch to Electric Vehicles

August 18, 2023

CT Examiner

At a press conference on Wednesday, Republicans blasted Lamont’s proposed requirement that 100% of vehicles sold in Connecticut by 2035 will be electric-powered as a bureaucratic move that would crush middle class budgets and overwhelm the state’s electric infrastructure.

“This is not a sound environmental policy that has been well thought out and deliberated. Instead [it’s] an aggressive extreme agenda that is created by unelected bureaucrats to radically change, substantially change, the way people are going to move around our state. basically change the face of transportation without the legislature even sounding in,” said State Sen. Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford.

Kelly said the rule, proposed by the Lamont administration and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, will crush the working and middle class budgets of families across the state because electric vehicles are too expensive compared to gas-powered cars.

“The median cost of an EV is $53,000. Yet the median income in Connecticut is only $40,000,” he said. “[If] the majority wants this to happen, then let’s get better jobs. Let’s create more opportunity. Let’s get Connecticut working. But instead what we’re going to do is foist a burden that’s going to be more than an annual salary on the average family.”

Kelly said that the recent decision by state regulators to reject a requested rate hike by United Illuminating would leave the company unable to invest in needed infrastructure, ultimately straining the already overloaded capacity of the grid statewide.

“For instance, a 10 truck fleet uses the same amount of electricity as 1000 homes. So what’s the plan? Do we have one? If we do, I’d like to see it, I’d like to hear it. What’s the governor and his administration going to do and how is this going to be a part of it?” Kelly said.

Kelly said that while electric vehicles may reduce emissions, residents in environmental justice communities will not be able to afford the cost, and that the initiative will also kill jobs in the state – from car dealerships to the gasoline industry to auto parts stores.

He said that a national policy was needed rather than a state-by-state policy to protect states like Connecticut from pollution blowing from the rust belt states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Kelly also said that the Transportation Climate Initiative legislation proposed in 2021, which would have added to the cost of gasoline, would have been a sacrifice asked of Connecticut families “almost for naught.”

Kelly also questioned the California model for the state of Connecticut.

“And lastly, the notion that we’re going to be dictated to by California and their laws runs totally contrary to the long history of constitutional government that was christened right here in this city. It’s the people’s Government, not the bureaucrats’ … and we’re their elected representatives. The legislature is the body that needs to be vested with this decision, not California, not bureaucrats,” Kelly said. “The legislature needs to weigh in on something that’s substantial and significant that’s going to change the way we move around our state and the face of our transportation system moving forward.”

Kelly said the state takes its environmental stewardship very seriously, but “it’s not just about setting a policy.” He said building blocks needed to be put in place to achieve the goal first.

“While we love nothing better than a greener environment and cleaner air, we’ve got to work on today’s problems and today’s solutions to make those ideas a reality and that’s not present in the regulation that’s before us,” he said.