The governor’s effort to tax electric cars avoids real solutions, attacks a growing industry and causes greater divisions within an already fractured government.

I reduced my toll on the Earth by 40 percent through driving electric vehicles. The purchase price was higher, but as with all technology, prices drop and ranges improve. We hope they are the future, but currently, they’re not even close. This tax revenue would be a fraction of our transportation budget.

Let’s raise the gas tax 20 to 60 cents per gallon and increase tolls for trucks. The bigger the gas guzzler (e.g., a sport utility vehicle), the more you pay. The rest of the world is thinking, “Do I really need to pollute this much?” and “How can I reduce my vehicle size and cost?”

Conversely, we are buying bigger vehicles, increasing fuel use and pollution. Vehicle efficiency is improving, but it is not even close to where it needs to be, especially with the Trump administration eliminating efficiency standards.

Large SUVs and trucks are causing massive damage to our crumbling infrastructure and irrevocable harm to our atmosphere. A tractor-trailer, skipping the Maine Turnpike toll and taking Route 100 from Portland to Auburn, can cause the damage of nearly 10,000 cars! A single heavy SUV can cause the damage of 100 light cars.

This “damage” tax could pay for our roads. Let’s put a portion of that revenue into clean and efficient rail transportation, including passenger and freight services, instead of turning our last veins of clean transportation into bike trails. How about converting a lane of the interstate and make that into the bike trail? These are ideas we should be considering.

Paul Weiss

founding member, Maine Rail Transit Coalition; member, Transportation and Energy Committee, Sierra Club Maine


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