Press Release: MHPC sends letter to Governor Mills in opposition to Transportation and Climate Initiative


December 17, 2019
Contact: Jacob Posik
Director of Communications
Office: 207.321.2550

MHPC sends letter to Governor Mills outlining its opposition to the Transportation and Climate Initiative

PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC) today sent a letter to Governor Janet Mills and Commissioner Gerald Reid of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection outlining the organization’s opposition to the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), a regional collaboration of 12 northeast and mid-Atlantic states and Washington D.C. that aims to price carbon emissions within the transportation sector.

The TCI would set an artificial cap on transportation-related carbon emissions and force fuel suppliers to purchase allowances for the carbon emitted by their fuel products. The cost of the allowances would increase regularly, with the intent of discouraging and eventually eliminating the use of fossil fuels.

These costs would be passed onto consumers, in effect creating a new tax on gasoline and diesel fuel that consumers pay at the pump. In pricing emissions, the initiative attempts to push consumers to more quickly transition to electric vehicles and mass transit options.

The letter reads in part: “The TCI is intended to make purchasing transportation fuels so painfully expensive that the astronomically high price discourages people from buying it. In short, consumers will have to pay more at the pump to fund increased government spending. Make no mistake, this is a tax. More precisely, it is a carbon dioxide tax being implemented through a gas tax.

But, unlike motor fuel taxes levied to pay for roads, bridges, and transportation infrastructure (a reasonable fee for use), the TCI would be the equivalent of a ‘sin tax’ – a penalty for engaging in bad behavior. We do not believe that driving to and for work, transporting children to school, transporting goods, going to the grocery store, and all the other necessary activities that generally require a vehicle should be treated by governments as a sin. These are not activities people can, or should be forced to, avoid.”

Transitioning away from fossil fuels in Maine’s transportation sector means less revenue for road repairs and improvements, and electric vehicles are not affordable for the average Maine consumer. Public transportation simply cannot replace cars and trucks in most of Maine.

Only 1,300 electric vehicles were registered in Maine in 2018, less than one percent of all passenger vehicles registered in the state. In 2017, Maine’s transportation sector emitted 8.4 million metric tons of carbon, which accounted for approximately 0.44 percent of the 1,905.1 million metric tons of carbon produced by the United States as a whole.

“The TCI would hurt Maine’s infrastructure, economy and the most vulnerable among us, and our involvement would have no measurable impact on the climate. Maine’s participation simply is not worth the hardship it would create for families and businesses,” MHPC CEO Matthew Gagnon said.

MHPC is one of 18 organizations in a coalition opposed to the TCI and the participation of their respective states.

The full letter can be read here.


The Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and education organization dedicated to freeing people from dependency, creating prosperity, and redefining the role of government. MHPC formulates and promotes free-market public policies in the areas of health care, education, regulations, government transparency and tax and fiscal policy. To learn more about MHPC or review our policy work, visit: