Opinion / Time for Conn. to act on Tesla
I am the owner of North Haven Auto Body, and I can speak firsthand on the impact that technology is having on my business. New safety features such as automatic braking and collision avoidance are being built into even the most basic of models, something that will undoubtedly lead to lower accident rates in the future, which will directly impact my two companies. And my only thought is “Thank God.”
Automobile accidents are fourth leading cause of death in the world. If these new technologies save a single injury or death, I say bring it on. I will gladly get ready for the future knowing that we will need to adapt to thrive and survive.
But not everyone in our state is ready to embrace change. For those of you who may not have been paying close attention, Tesla — the electric car manufacturer that has been leading the charge against climate change — is trying now for the fourth year to gain the ability to sell its vehicles and other products here in Connecticut.
For a state that has been bleeding jobs and a government that remains caught in a permanent fiscal crisis, you may be asking what’s the problem here? Surely our elected leaders in the state Legislature wouldn’t stand in the way of a company that wants to invest its own money and create jobs?
Well, if you do think that, let me be the first to tell you that that’s exactly what’s happening. For the past three years, Tesla has pushed for legislation that would allow this innovative company to invest millions of dollars of their own money and create hundreds of jobs without a single dollar from taxpayers.
And for the past three years, our Legislature has done exactly nothing to get this bill over the finish line. We have the chance this year to finally get this right.
The Transportation Committee — thanks in large part to the hard-working chairman of that committee, state Rep. Tony Guerrera — has once again passed the legislation. Now, we just need the weather to cooperate so the legislation can pass the committee and move to a full debate in both chambers.
As we deal with the last throws of winter, let’s send a message that Connecticut is still a place where innovation can thrive. Let’s pass HB 5310 and bring Connecticut into the 21st century.
Robert McSherry is the owner of North Haven Auto Body.