Climate Change

Transportation makes up 38% of the total energy consumed in Vermont and produces approximately 40% of GHG emissions—more than any other sector. In concert with other state agencies, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) remains actively involved in efforts to reduce climate and environmental impacts associated with transportation while recognizing that access to safe, reliable, and equitable transportation is a necessity for all Vermonters.

Efforts to transform the transportation sector include investments in fossil-fuel-free technology such as electric vehicle charging stations; electric cars, trucks, and buses; and transportation alternatives like bike lanes, park-and-rides, public transit, passenger and freight rail, and pedestrian safety. Transportation and climate change affect every Vermonter, and VTrans remains committed to addressing the environmental impacts of our transportation systems.

Agency Involvement

In 2017, Governor Scott created the Vermont Climate Action Commission. VTrans was actively involved in drafting the Commission’s Final Report, submitted to the Governor in July 2018, and remains involved with state climate policy and programs through the Comprehensive Energy Plan, the Climate Action Plan, and other initiatives.

The Comprehensive Energy Plan is published by the Department of Public Service every six years. The most recent version is due in January 2022 and provides an in-depth look at energy consumption across all sectors within Vermont. VTrans has been engaged with planning, drafting, and editing the transportation and land use chapter. VTrans commissions a biannual Transportation Energy Profile to track the state’s progress toward the Plan’s transportation objectives

Under Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act, the Vermont Climate Council must submit a Climate Action Plan to the Legislature no later than December 1, 2021. The CAP will explore pathways, strategies, and actions to address climate change across all sectors and ensure that Vermont meets its statutory greenhouse gas reduction requirements. Equity is a central focus, as the CAP seeks to ensure those most impacted by climate change and the clean energy transition are not left behind. The Secretary of Transportation serves on the Council, and VTrans supports the Council’s work on issues related to vehicle emissions and other environmental impacts from the transportation sector.

Graph of Vermont CO2 Emissions from Ground Transportation, 2002-2020

Vermont CO2 Emissions from Ground Transportation, 2002-2020

 

Vehicle Incentive Programs:

State Vehicle Incentive Programs exist to assist income-qualified Vermonters reduce their transportation related emissions. VTrans works with partners such as Drive Electric Vermont and Capstone Community Action to fund a variety of programs. Find out which incentive opportunity might be right for you by exploring various programs authorized by the Legislature:

Mulitpronged Vehicle Electrification Strategy (MUVES)

The Agency of Transportation recently entered into a grant agreement with Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) to expand the PEV market in Vermont. VEIC will use funds appropriated to VTrans in the Transportation bill, as well as federal State Planning and Research dollars to facilitate and accelerate vehicle electrification in Vermont.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)

The Vermont EVSE grant program is a multi-agency effort to expand the network of electric vehicle charging stations across the State. Initially funded with settlement money from Volkswagen’s violations of the Clean Air Act, the Vermont Legislature has supported the continuation of this program by appropriating additional funds. Vermont’s cross-government investments in supporting the transition to electric vehicles and clean transportation have made Vermont #1 in the nation for the greatest amount of EV charging stations per capita. This ongoing program continues to support communities and commuters across the State as Vermont seeks to reduce transportation-related GHG emissions.

Transportation Demand Management

VTrans’ Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant Program aims to provide safe and convenient facilities for Vermonters who desire alternative transportation opportunities.

Go! Vermont is an effort to get commuters out of single-occupancy vehicles into carpooling, ridesharing, public transit, and alternative modes of transportation. Every mile not driven is a win for the environment!

Park-and-Rides encourage commuters to carpool or take the bus by providing safe roadside parking in convenient locations. Many Vermonters live miles from the nearest city center, so taking a bus all the way to work isn’t an option. However, a Park-and-Ride location near you might help reduce the miles you put on a personal vehicle and save on gas money.

VTrans’ Complete Streets policy was enacted by the Legislature in 2011 to ensure transportation policy considers all users. Ensuring safe sidewalks, crosswalks, and traffic signals for pedestrians and cyclists will make it easier for everyone who wants to travel in a more environmentally friendly manner.

VTrans’ Public Transit Section provides financial and technical assistance to various transit authorities around the state.

VTrans oversees Vermont’s rail systems, ensuring the safe transportation of passengers and goods. Amtrack passenger rail offers a less energy-intensive method of travel for passengers, while freight rail can transport goods long distances across the region more efficiently than alternatives such as heavy-duty tractor-trailers.

Agency Contacts

Dan Dutcher
AOT Environmental Policy Manager
Daniel.dutcher@vermont.gov

Patrick Murphy
AOT Sustainability and Innovations Project Manager
Patrick.murphy@vermont.gov