Rural voters voice opposition to Gov. Baker’s environmental plan

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – The transportation climate initiative or TCI aims to cut carbon emissions in the Commonwealth, but the cost of doing so might not be worth it for rural voters.

The TCI plan would add a 17 cent tax on a gallon of gas, bringing in more than 500 million dollars of new revenue annually. When it comes to distributing that money, residents in rural Massachusetts aren’t convinced that the money will go to their communities.

They fear that the money will only be used to improve transportation in urban and suburban neighborhoods. Earlier this week, 22News spoke to several western Massachusetts lawmakers who shared those fears and expressed apprehension for the plan unless it was guaranteed that the money would improve public transportation in their districts.

“I’m going to look for real regional equity when that money gets apportioned and how we’re thinking about that money even before this becomes a reality, regional equity so that western Massachusetts truly gets a fair share,” Senator Comerford said.

In a new poll, 67 percent of rural and small-town voters said they would be willing to pay a monthly amount to fund clean transportation choices in their state, with just under a third willing to pay $20 or more per month.

The TCI plan still has a long way to go before it would go into effect. Twelve other states are also considering the drawbacks and the benefits of rolling out the plan on a statewide level.

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