By Green Energy Times Staff
In September, Vermont’s congressional delegation announced that the United States Department of Transportation had awarded a grant of $480,000 to the Vermont Agency of Transportation to help buy two electric buses to be used by Green Mountain Transit in Burlington. Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Representative Peter Welch had jointly sent a letter in support of the grant to Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao.
The effects of air pollution from transportation are especially important in Vermont. The state’s rural population and visitors use quite a lot of fuel, and the effects are costly for the health of the residents. When the American Lung Association in California studied transportation-related health effects in ten states, including California and New York, the cost per capita was highest in Vermont, at $480 per person per year.
This should not be surprising to anyone who understands the use of energy in the state. Vermont has 47% of its carbon emissions from the transportation sector, where the national average is 28%. Getting Vermont’s carbon emissions under control and reducing problems with pollution both demand more attention to transportation than to anything else.
We might well consider the carbon emissions of the people living in Burlington. If they heat with heat pumps, cook with electricity, and ride electric buses, the greatest source of their carbon emissions might just be the food they eat.
The City of Burlington, Green Mountain Transit, Burlington Electric Department, and the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation have all been studying electric buses for the city for some time. Green Energy Times had an article on the subject, “Electric Bus Trials in Vermont and New Hampshire”, in the February, 2017 issue. More recently, in the June, 2017 issue, we had the article, “Electric Buses Trials in Vermont and New Hampshire.”
A joint statement from the congressional delegation said, “Public transit is already an excellent way to reduce carbon emissions, by giving people the option to get out of their cars and into buses. By using electric buses instead of fossil fuel burning buses, we reduce those emissions even further. Since these electric buses will be charged by Burlington Electric Department, which gets 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, they are just about the cleanest way imaginable to transport area residents.”
The importance of carbon emissions was also highlighted by a statement in the joint statement. It said, “At a time when global climate change is causing devastation all around the world, from more frequent and stronger hurricanes, wildfires, drought, and flooding, this is exactly the kind of investment we should be making.”