Today, the Vermont House Committee on Transportation unanimously passed the FY23 Transportation Bill with a suite of investments that are essential to meeting Vermont’s climate pollution reduction requirements. The transportation sector is Vermont’s most carbon-intensive sector, and we’re encouraged to see the committee make investments at the scale and scope required to do our part on the climate crisis – while also creating more clean, accessible, and affordable transportation options for Vermonters.
Based on our organizations’ analyses and years of work in this area, it is clear that the level of funding currently included in the FY23 Transportation Bill is a fundamental baseline investment required this year to meet the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act targets. We will be working hard to ensure these levels are maintained as the bill moves through the legislative process.
The FY23 Transportation Bill includes investments to help lower- and moderate-income Vermonters purchase electric or highly efficient cars, invests in electric vehicle charging equipment, safer walking and biking infrastructure, zero-fare transit, and the Mobility and Transportation Innovations Grant Program to ratchet up the transformation to a clean transportation system. The current investments in climate solutions are a necessary first step to advance the carbon reduction policies as required by the Climate Action Plan.
The House Committee on Transportation Chair Diane Lanpher and the members of the committee took on the monumental task of navigating the influx of federal dollars and prioritizing state dollars to set the stage to make innovative investments in clean transportation. We appreciate their work, and look forward to further aligning the transportation budget and policy direction of VTRANS with the state\’s climate and equity requirements and goals. We will also continue to push to advance policies included in the Transportation Innovation Act that were not included in the Transportation Bill.
Two years ago, the Vermont legislature committed to targets for reducing climate pollution and the Vermont Climate Council has identified specific pathways to get us there. The investments in the Transportation Bill, along with other investments the legislature is poised to adopt in programs like weatherization and municipal fuel switching, are critical steps toward meeting those obligations. There will be more annual progress needed, including robust investments and policy tools, to make money-saving climate progress over time. But today is a day to celebrate and appreciate the work of the House Transportation Committee. These investments will bring us cleaner air, better health, and a more equitable and robust local economy – a win-win-win situation.
Robb Kidd, Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club,
Ben Edgerly Walsh, Vermont Public Interest Research Group,
Johanna Miller, Vermont Natural Resources Council
Dale Azaria, Conservation Law Foundation
Lauren Hierl, Vermont Conservation Voters
Jordan Giaconia, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility