Following last year’s failure of the Transportation Climate Initiative, lawmakers this session approved sweeping legislation slashing carbon emissions by expanding public and private use of electric vehicles and infrastructure.
SB 4 was approved largely along party lines in the Senate and State House, and features a number of new and enhanced state programs to incentivize individuals and businesses to purchase electric vehicles and charging infrastructure .
The Connecticut Hydrogren and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate program currently offers incentives to residents who purchase or lease a qualifying electric vehicle from an approved auto dealership.
SB 4 increases program funding by diverting a portion of proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and expands incentive eligibility to businesses and nonprofits.
Under the bill, companies will be limited to 10 incentives per year and 20 incentives in total.
The bill also allows the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to issue additional incentives to eligible companies that operate fleets exclusively in environmental justice communities.
The MSRP cap for Program Vouchers is $42,000 for BEV and PHEV and $60,000 for FCEV.
The bill also allows DEEP to establish a voucher program to support the use of zero-emission vehicles from (1) Class 5 through Class 13 and (2) school buses from Class 3 through Class 8. .
Under the bill, technology eligible for vouchers includes battery and fuel cell electric systems and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
DEEP is required to set aside 40% of available funds to maximize air pollution reduction in environmental justice communities.
Section 6 of the bill exempts from municipal property taxes Level 2 charging stations located on commercial or industrial land and refueling equipment for fuel cell electric vehicles and zero-emission school buses.
Although the AABC supported the above provisions of the bill, the organization opposed the late-breaking amendment that authorizes Commissioner DEEP to pass regulations implementing California standards for motorized vehicles. medium and heavy engines.
AABC’s Ashley Zane told lawmakers at the public hearing that adopting the California standards would be a regulatory challenge and would significantly increase business operating costs.
The bill also establishes a “right to recharge” for tenants and owners of units in condominiums and communities of common interest, as well as requiring that a certain percentage of parking spaces in certain new constructions be equipped with electric vehicle charging stations or charging station infrastructure.
Last year, according to the American Trucking Association, trucking companies in the United States suffered a record shortfall of 80,000 drivers.
Two bills passed this session are designed to help trucking companies fill the thousands of positions currently open across the state and mitigate the impact on supply chains.
SB 334 require the Department of Corrections to provide appropriate space and technology for (1) CDL test preparation provided by or in conjunction with a regional workforce development council; and (2) test administration.
The bill establishes an important public-private partnership that will make the CDL knowledge test, a prerequisite for the CDL test on the road, available to incarcerated individuals who reburial in the community within six months and not subject to federal disqualification.
Revenue Sharing Program
The legislature also approved the state’s first revenue-sharing agreement program.
The ISA program, embedded in the state budget bill, requires the Office of Workforce Strategy to support CDL training as part of the CareerConneCT workforce training program.
Under the program, individuals who receive a direct tuition payment from the ISA account must repay the payment if, after receiving the training, they are placed in a job that provides them with an income greater than that which they they received before participating in the program.
The program should also consider offering complementary supports, such as stipends, child care, counseling, and other supports identified by OWS.
The bill specifically prohibits (1) charging interest on any tuition refund obligation; and (2) people receiving global support for having to repay the account for those supports.
CBAA has supported the development of this program and will work with OWS and the Legislature to expand it to include more training programs, outside of CDL, in the future.
DOT Hiring Process
The Legislature also approved legislation that makes a number of changes to the Department of Transportation’s hiring processes to deal with the wave of retirements brewing in July.
SB 215 ushers in a number of hiring and recruiting changes to mitigate the impact of the impending wave of retirements on the agency’s ability to take full advantage of the influx of federal funding.
First, the bill requires the Department of Administrative Services and DOT to promote recruitment at public and independent higher education institutions.
Effective July 1, 2023, the bill also requires the DAS to increase the pay rate for summer worker professional engineering jobs annually by any percentage increase in the National Consumer Price Index. for urban employees and office workers for the previous 12-month period.
Second, SB 215 requires DAS to engage in the continuous successive recruitment of junior engineers and maintainer one for the positions and two for the transportation officer on behalf of the DOT.
The bill also requires the DOT to make a decision regarding an applicant’s employment within 120 days of filing the application.
Finally, SB 215 allows DOT to consider an applicant’s application for another agency vacancy without requiring the applicant to submit another application, as long as the applicant meets the minimum education and experience qualifications. .
The CBIA supported the bill at the public hearing in March.
Regional Transit Districts
HB5255which passed both the Senate and the House, addresses issues related to the lack of synchronization due to the current fragmentation of the fourteen transit districts that currently operate in the state.
Each of these districts has the autonomy to determine which bus services to operate and what fares to charge, and the DOT subsidizes about 94% of these local bus transit operations despite the fact that the municipalities run the systems.
Under section 26, the bill freezes funding for transit districts in an urbanized area in fiscal year 2025 at that year’s level, but maintains the existing funding formula for districts public transport located in a rural area.
The bill defines an “urbanized area” as an area with a population of at least 50,000 people while “rural area” means an area with a population of less than 50,000.
To encourage future consolidation, the bill also requires DOT to establish a grant program, beginning in 2025, to help urban transit districts maintain and expand transit services, provide regional and modernizing public transit equipment, facilities and other infrastructure.
Grants will be prioritized for transit districts formed by a municipality of at least 100,000 or with member municipalities with a combined population of at least 100,000.
For more information, contact AABC’s Wyatt Bosworth (860.244.1155) | @WyattBosworthCT