AUGUSTA – Governor Janet Mills is
negotiating a multi-state agreement that could sharply increase the cost of
gasoline and diesel for Maine people, and Mainers should take the opportunity
to weigh in with their comments, says a group that advocates for Maine’s
taxpayers and consumers.
According to Maine People Before Politics, the agreement, said the Transportation Climate Initiative is akin to the California “cap-and-trade” arrangement that a study shows has been a factor in driving up gasoline prices for drivers in that state in recent years.
The Boston Globe and Boston’s public
radio station WBUR have both reported that Governor Janet Mills is negotiating
on behalf of Maine as one of twelve states in the eastern United States looking
to impose new restrictions and costs on gasoline and diesel sales.
“We urge all Maine
consumers and businesses to provide input on the TCI framework released last
week,” stated Julie Rabinowitz, director of policy and communication for Maine People Before
“Forcing businesses that sell gasoline
and diesel to pay permitting fees to state government would pass a regressive,
hidden tax onto Maine drivers and increase the cost of
everything delivered over the road. As a rural state, our residents need to
make their voices heard,” said Rabinowitz.
The initial public comment period will
end on November 5, 2019.
extensive coverage in Boston media of last week’s release of the framework and
the opening of the public comment period, there has been little coverage of
this story in Maine. Yet this initiative holds tremendous
financial implications for Mainers. Our tourism economy alone is highly
dependent on gas prices,” Rabinowitz stated.
The draft TCI
Framework was announced October 1. The states are currently developing a
memorandum of understanding (MOU) reflecting the framework, which is expected
to be released this coming December for further public comment. Each state will
make its decision to commit to the initiative by signing the formal MOU
sometime in the spring of 2020.
The 12 participating states are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. Washington D.C. is also participating.
Some states will be required to pass legislation enabling the policies they negotiate to go into effect, while others may not be required to do so.