Connecticut Clean Air Act receives final approval
Lawmakers gave final approval Friday to the Connecticut Clean Air Act, a sweeping climate change package that expands electric vehicle incentives and accelerates the switch to an all-electric bus fleet.
The plan calls for new transit buses to be zero emissions by 2024, and all school buses to be carbon-free by 2040.
For consumers, electric vehicles will be easier to buy and to recharge. The state's CHEAPR program offers up to $9,500 off the price of an EV, but only cars costing less than $42,000 qualify. That cap now jumps to $50,000.
As for charging, the new law guarantees most renters and condo association members the right to install at least a Level 2 electric vehicle charger — at their own expense. Rental units with fewer than five parking spaces are exempt.
"Ensuring that folks who live in condominiums and planned communities and apartment buildings have the right to have EV charging stations as part of their unit," said state Rep. Roland Lemar (D-New Haven).
New apartment complexes will be required to include EV charging spots.
The most controversial part of the law involves truckers. Medium- and heavy-duty trucks will now be subject to tougher California emissions standards. That means many drivers will have to retrofit or replace their trucks. The Clean Air Act includes vouchers to help defray the cost.
Critics say the mandate will make record-high inflation even worse.
"Everything we buy is double and triple what it was even a year ago. How we would add that burden -- continually add that burden -- onto the hardworking families of Connecticut is beyond me," said state Rep. Dave Rutigliano (R-Trumbull), a restaurant owner.
Supporters believe the fear is exaggerated.
"These standards have been adopted in New York and New Jersey and Massachusetts, so, you know, the trucks got to go through those states to get here," said state Rep. Joe Gresko (D-Stratford).
With climate change already here and Connecticut missing its pollution reduction targets, supporters say the state can't afford to wait.
"We're not moving too fast. We might be moving too slow. We've got to move now," said Lemar.
The Connecticut Clear Air Act is one of several climate change bills passed this year. It now heads to Gov. Ned Lamont.