TCI: The Next Step in Government by Fiat

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Way back before the onset of the coronavirus, the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) was a significant issue.  The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity put out a policy brief and urged people to offer public commentary on the project; the Gaspee Project promoted a petitionState of the State did an episode on the subject; and I wrote a holiday-themed poem.  As seen in the State of the State video, the governor’s administration folded after all of that citizen activity persuaded the General Assembly to quietly shake its head, “no.”  But the radicals pledged to regroup and try again the next year.

Well, wasn’t that easy?  A little bit of pandemic.  A little bit of the governor getting people used to government by executive order, and the state government quietly commits the people of Rhode Island to higher gas prices (i.e., a gas tax) and more green schemes:

Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced yesterday that Rhode Island has joined the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). It’s an historic, bipartisan program that will be a game-changer in cutting motor vehicle pollution, which is the region’s greatest source of greenhouse gases.

No public debate. No messy legislative debate. Just an executive order as families crawl toward a COVID-tainted holiday season.

As if to rub Rhode Islanders’ faces in the assault on our civil rights, Queen Raimondo’s press release doesn’t include any of our elected representatives.  Yes, environmentalist activists are onboard, as are various executive directors whom Raimondo appointed.  Surprise, surprise.  Radical General Treasurer Seth Magaziner provides a fig leaf of cover as at least one official who was actually elected, but that only puts a spotlight on the lack of any others.

The governor gave herself unprecedented power to make us do and not do things for our own good (from her perspective) with COVID-19, and there was never any reason to believe she would restrict that philosophy to the pandemic if she could get away with pushing the envelope.  Well… she’s pushing the envelope.