Measures are a good start in reducing transportation emissions
A broad coalition of environmental leaders applaud the transportation investments included with the enactment of the Fiscal Year 2023 Transportation Bill, H.736, and the Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations Act, H.740, which earned Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s signature on June 9, 2022. The bills, H.736 and H.740 passed with strong tri-partisan supermajorities in both legislative chambers before arriving for Gov. Scott’s signature.
These bills call for a suite of policies and appropriations to rapidly transform transportation choices. Especially for vehicle electrification, the bills call for Vermont to appropriate nearly $40 million dollars to meet our carbon reduction targets this year. Increased funding for electric vehicle incentives, deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and the continuation of zero-fare transit to assist low and moderate-income Vermonters to access clean transportation sources are all necessary steps toward Vermont meeting the required carbon reduction targets as adopted in the Global Warming Solutions Act and the Vermont Climate Action Plan. Vermont was fortunate enough to incorporate monies derived from the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA), the Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act, the Vermont Transportation fund, and the Vermont General Fund dollars. Members of the coalition that support these transportation investments released the following statements in response:
“The Sierra Club appreciates the legislatures’ hard work to make the essential investment in clean transportation choices. With the introduction of the Transportation Innovation Act and the Governor’s recommendations, we set a course to ensure that these investments were made this year,” stated Robb Kidd, Vermont Sierra Club Conservation Program Manager. “In the upcoming years, we hope to build upon this success and make greater investments in clean transportation choices to ultimately reduce vehicle miles traveled and to meet Vermont’s required carbon emission reductions.”
“With oil and gas prices soaring and the climate crisis worsening, the need to decarbonize Vermont’s transportation sector and transition to cleaner, more affordable forms of transportation cannot be overstated,” said VBSR Public Policy Manager, Jordan Giaconia. “From workplace charging grants to electric vehicle purchase incentives, this year’s transportation bill includes historic investments that promise to keep more dollars in Vermonters’ pockets and less pollution in our atmosphere. We applaud the legislature for taking yet another stride toward an equitable, prosperous clean transportation future and look forward to building on these investments to ensure both our businesses and our communities have the resources they need to go green.”
“Vermonters are paying too much for transportation, and this bill will help address that problem,” said Elena Mihaly, Vice President and Director of CLF Vermont. “Providing incentives to purchase electric vehicles and supporting public transit are two huge ways we can reduce this burden on residents. With polluting emissions from transportation rising, we can’t afford to wait any longer.”
“Huge thanks to legislative leaders who recognized the need for far greater investments in cleaner, multimodal, more equitable transportation solutions,” said Johanna Miller, Energy and Climate Program Director at the Vermont Natural Resources Council. “Vermonters are feeling the financial pinch at the pump, tethered to a dirty, price volatile international commodity market. The significant clean transportation investments this year will help shift that dynamic, expanding programs that reduce our reliance on imported oil and gas, save Vermonters money and cut the pollution that is warming our planet.”
“The investments in clean transportation in this year’s budget and transportation bill represent a historic step forward, and a good foundation for Vermont to build on,” said Ben Edgerly Walsh, Climate and Energy Program Director with the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. “In the coming months and years we absolutely must build on this foundation to actually meet our required climate targets, something enabled but not ensured by these significant investments.”
“Drastically decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from Vermont’s transportation sector is critical for combatting the climate crisis. The programs funded in this bill are important steps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and will speed up Vermont’s moving to electrify its transportation sector,” said Peter Sterling, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont.