Improved Transportation Systems

Posted Fall 2020

Vermonters deserve to drive on safe, well-maintained roads. Keeping Vermonters and the goods that we all buy and sell moving around the state safely and efficiently is no small task. Road and bridge repair must remain a priority. Vermont needs a long-term program for funding of its transportation infrastructure.

Vermont needs improved transportation systems on several other fronts. Rail investment, both passenger and freight, is a critical part of our transportation future. Vermont needs funding above current levels for public transit. This will help address the growing needs of our seniors, not to mention the needs of commuters who would prefer to drive fewer miles in their cars in the face of increasing concern over carbon emissions. We need to ensure that our “Park and Ride” lots are adequate in size and placed in appropriate locations to meet the needs of the users. I support statewide incentives for ride sharing. Roadways should have shoulders that are wide enough to allow for the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

Transportation is the largest contributor (45%) to Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions. We need to replace more of our quaint gas-burning automobiles with electric vehicle (EVs). We must maintain our New Plug-In Electric Vehicle (EV) incentive program to provide incentives for plug-in car purchases. Vermont needs to continue to expand the infrastructure needed to support the increasing number of EVs on our roads. It is a goal of the legislature that every Vermonter will have a DC fast-charging station within 30 miles of their home by the end of 2021. We also need to set up MileageSmart, a grant program to help low-income Vermonters trade up into higher-efficiency vehicles.

Improving Public Transit is a top priority for additional funding to reduce single occupancy vehicle travel. The 2020 Transportation Bill (H.942) includes funding for a grant program to increase more flexible “microtransit” bus routes as well as innovative Transportation Demand Management (TDM) activities. TDM promotes carpools, biking, and telecommuting to reduce the need for commuting and parking spaces. This year’s budget also includes more funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects (such as the long-awaited Lamoille Valley Rail Trail) and the Downtown Transportation Program.