Hawkins says carbon tax, funds to clean up transportation

Hawkins says carbon tax, funds to clean up transportation

For immediate release: August 20, 2018

Hawkins Calls for Carbon Tax, Increase Mass Transit Fund to Reduce Climate Impact of Transportation

DEC holding “listening sessions” in Syracuse on Tuesday

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, said today that the state should enact a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions in order to accelerate the transition to clean energy. The revenues from a carbon tax should be used to help finance an increase in mass transit funding. (See Hawkins release on Fixing the Subways.)

Hawkins also said that as Governor he would push for a requirement that all new vehicles in the state be zero emission by 2025. He supports increasing the number of electric charging stations in NY and a higher tax credit for electric cars. He would also enact congestion pricing in NYC.

“While the Cuomo administration has moved at a glacial pace in moving our electric production from fossil fuels to wind, solar and efficiency, he has been even slower with transportation, which has an even bigger carbon footprint. We need action now to avoid climate chaos, while Cuomo prefers studies and more talk,” noted Hawkins.

Earlier this year Gov. Jerry Brown (CA) outlined a $2.5 billion plan to help Californians buy electric vehicles and expand a network of charging stations as part of an ambitious goal of getting 5 million zero-emission cars on the road by 2030. Cuomo subsequently announced a $250 million initiative for New York.

In his State of the State address in January, Governor Cuomo directed New York State agencies to collaborate with other states participating in the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) to evaluate potential regional approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. However, two years ago, Cuomo issued a press release saying he would explore a regional gas tax to raise funds to support mass transit but failed to follow up.

DEC is holding two “listening sessions” in Syracuse on Tuesday as part of “stakeholder process” that began earlier this year. The sessions however do not allow the public to provide direct testimony recommending steps the state should take to reduce carbon emissions from transportation.

Politico noted last year that “Gov. Andrew Cuomo, an avowed gearhead, roared up to the New York International Auto Show earlier this year in a high performance car that gets 13 miles per gallon on average, leaving behind a cloud of smoke.”  Transportation accounts for 34% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Politico noted that greenhouse gases created by electric generation have dropped 50 percent from 1990 to 2014, according to state data. (NY now gets only 4% of its electricity from wind and solar.) Over the same period, emissions from the transportation sector increased 23 percent and surpassed electric generation as the largest source for emissions.

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