Transportation accounts for 38% of the total energy consumed in Vermont and contributes approximately 40% of all greenhouse gas (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.
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 (CEP) is published by the Department of Public Service every six years. The most recent version was published 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 also commissions a biannual Transportation Energy Profile to track the state’s progress toward the Plan’s transportation objectives
Pursuant to Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act, the Vermont Climate Council submitted a Climate Action Plan (CAP) to the Legislature on December 1, 2021. The CAP explores 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.
Vehicle Incentive Programs:
Vermont offers a number of State Vehicle Incentive Programs to help 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:
- Incentive Program for New PEV
- Mileage Smart
- Replace Your Ride
- eBike Incentive Program (Paused no funds remaining)
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE): Community Charging
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 highest 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 to support active transportation.
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 or town 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 design considers the needs of all users. Creating better infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists supports active and public transportation and reduces trip-making in personal automobiles.
VTrans Public Transit Section provides financial and technical assistance to various transit authorities around the state, while also working to electrify public transit fleets.
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.
Federal Funds for Climate
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law on Nov. 15, 2021, established several programs to aid States in implementing programs aimed at reaching the climate goals set by the Biden Administration.
National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law on Nov. 15, 2021, established the N
ational Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program to provide dedicated funding to states to deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure along key interstate and state highway corridors. The goal is to create a reliable, convenient network of fast EV charging stations for drivers nationwide in order to help speed the adoption of electric vehicles and increase equitable access to infrastructure and economic opportunity.On September 27,2022, the Federal Highways Administration approved Vermont's first state plan to access the federal funding and guide its future investments.
Carbon Reduction Program
The purpose of the Carbon Reduction Program (CRP) is to reduce transportation emissions through the development of State Carbon Reduction Strategies and by funding projects designed to reduce transportation emissions. States are required to develop Carbon Reduction Strategies (CRS) that will be submitted for approval by the Federal Highway Administration by November 15, 2023. VTrans has contracted with Cambridge Systematics, Inc. to draft the Vtrans Carbon Reduction Strategy. The objectives of the CRS are to:
- Develop a methodology to confidently estimate the effect on GHG emissions of the investments in the Agency of Transportation Capital Program such that VTrans can, in coordination with the Agency of Natural Resources Climate Office, track and report progress towards achieving the State’s greenhouse reduction goals,
- Assess potential future policy, program, and funding options to cost effectively reduce GHG emissions from Vermont’s transportation sector, and
- Develop an investment strategy to reduce emissions from transportation consistent with the Federal Carbon Reduction Program Guidance and the State’s Global Warming Solutions Act requirements.
The methodology will be developed in time to estimate the effect on GHG emissions of the SFY 24 Capital Program and present the results to the legislature during the 2023 session and strategy scenarios will be drafted by early Fall 2023.
Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Program
The PROTECT program helps make surface transportation more resilient to natural hazards, including climate change, sea level rise, flooding, extreme weather events, and other natural disasters through the support of planning activities, resilience improvements, community resilience and evacuation routes, and at-risk coastal infrastructure. The program incentivizes States to develop a Resilience Improvement Plan (RIP) to address surface transportation system resilience to current and future weather events and natural disasters. By the end of 2022, VTrans will develop its RIP in coordination with other recently completed resilience planning efforts, including the Transportation Resilience Planning Tool and the Reducing Repeat Damages of Vermont’s Roads and Structures Report.
Environmental Policy Manager
Sustainability and Innovations Project Manager
Enviromental Policy Analyst