A Peek Within Traffic

[Cars]

Bills have been introduced and rejected year after year. The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board are Pierre Omidyar, Patti Epler, Nathan Eagle, Chad Blair, Jessica Terrell, Julia Steele, Lee Cataluna, Kim Gamel and John Hill. Opinions expressed by the editorial board reflect the group’s consensus view. Chad Blair, the Politics and Opinion Editor, can be reached at cblair@civilbeat.org. Consider the following argument: “In a time in which increased taxes and other new revenue sources are unlikely to be made available for a state with a growing to-do list, a properly framed lottery, with appropriate restrictions and revenue dedicated to critical needs, could represent a real win.” That is the concluding paragraph of a Civil Beat Editorial from January 2016 titled, “Hawaii Lottery? It’s Time To Reconsider The Question.” The Hawaii Legislature didn’t bite. Nor did it nibble nearly  three years later when we wrote this: “If lawmakers and the governor agree on legislation to allow the City and County of Honolulu to have a lottery for rail, they could look at killing the GET surcharge and scaling back the transient accommodations tax hike imposed last year to pay for rail.” Now, in the midst of a dramatic drop in state revenues due to the pandemic, we are arguing once again for a state lottery. A screenshot from Pennsylvania’s lottery website. Hawaii is one of the few states without a lottery. More and more Hawaii lawmakers seem to be open to the idea. Senate Bill 816 would create a state lottery to begin operating as early as January 2023, with the revenue deposited into the state’s general fund and special funds for the University of Hawaii and Department of Education. Half of the money from sales would pay for prizes for the holders of winning tickets, 10% would go to an administrative account and 40% would be divided equally for UH, the DOE and the general fund. In her committee report on SB 816, Senate Vice President Michelle Kidani, the bill’s author, noted that Hawaii is the only state responsible for the “full cost and administration” of public education. And yet, she added, that funding is far from adequate, undermining the state’s commitment to providing a quality education. Executives at UH and the DOE did not take a position on whether they support a lottery in their testimony on SB 816. But both reminded lawmakers that enormous financial woes continue, including “a severe” deferred maintenance backlog at all UH campuses in excess of $500 million and a total $270 million proposed budget reduction for the DOE that it deemed “dramatic.” Predictably, the lottery bill is opposed by the Honolulu Police Department, the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu and the conservative Hawaii Family Forum. They warn of the potential negative community impact — increases in domestic violence, divorce, bankruptcy, drug and alcohol use “and risky or illicit sexual behavior,” as the prosecutor’s office put it.

https://www.civilbeat.org/2021/02/a-lottery-would-be-a-winning-ticket-for-education-in-hawaii/

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GM’s stock rose nearly 3.5 percent Thursday. The move toward ending tailpipe emissions will affect GM’s passenger cars and light-duty trucks — SUVs such as the Yukon, as well as vans and minivans and some pickup trucks, such as the Silverado, a company spokeswoman said. But its heavy-duty vehicles — box trucks, tractor trailers, utility trucks and some heavy pickup trucks — will continue to run on gasoline, the company said. GM also said it is working with EVgo to triple the scale of the nation’s largest public fast-charging network by adding more than 2,700 fast chargers by the end of 2025, a move it says will help speed up electric-vehicle adoption. The chargers will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, which had worked with GM on its plan, called it a “breakthrough moment.” “And it’s part of a wave of industry action that reinforces what the Biden administration is doing,” Krupp said. Biden’s plan to electrify the federal fleet , from postal trucks to government vans, “creates demand and drives down costs as privately owned fleets follow suit,” Krupp said. Some critics said that GM still had not publicly joined four other automakers — Ford, Honda, VW and BMW — that agreed to comply with California’s fuel efficiency standards, which are more stringent than the federal targets under Trump. The California settlement is an important benchmark in restarting negotiations among auto companies, the California Air Resources Board and the Biden administration over cutting greenhouse-gas emissions in the transport sector. For now, GM has still not made as big a commitment as the others through 2026, when fuel economy gets renegotiated again. GM’s statement also left some wiggle room in continuing internal-combustion engines, critics noted. The company did not rule out using carbon offsets or credits “if absolutely necessary” to reach its goal of eliminating tailpipe emissions. That means GM could invest in programs that remove carbon dioxide from the air, such as tree planting, and still sell some gasoline-powered vehicles. And GM said that its plans for “decarbonizing and transitioning to 100 percent EVs” would take place “as supported by our commitment to setting science-based targets.” Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Transport Campaign at the Center for Biological Diversity, said that “given GM’s polluting track record, their promise to arrange some offsets for pollution” suggested that the company’s plan was “just blue smoke and mirrors.” “General Motors committing to exclusively sell zero-emissions vehicles by 2035 and to be carbon neutral by 2040 is a big deal,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a statement. “This is good news for our climate and a smart financial move for the company — a win-win.” By pledging to go carbon neutral by 2040, “GM demonstrates that members of the auto industry are committed to tackling the global climate crisis and decarbonizing the transportation sector,” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), who is a former GM executive and also served as president of the General Motors Foundation, said in a statement.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/01/28/general-motors-electric/
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