Update, May 28: In a historic session – Zoom legislating in a pandemic, appropriating $1 billion+ in federal stimulus dollars and far more – Vermont made much-needed, expanded commitments to a transportation system that is more efficient, clean, diverse and equitable. Here are the highlights of what passed in the “T-Bill” this year:
Expanded investments in vehicle electrification and high-efficiency vehicles for lower-income earners in particular. Those investments include:
- $3 Million dollars for an electric vehicle incentive program for personal vehicles, which also includes $250,000 for Drive Electric Vermont to help market, promote and inform Vermonters on the benefits of – and opportunity to (with incentive support!) – invest in an electric vehicle.
- $1.5 millions of dollars for a new “Replace Your Ride” program that aims to move people out of lower-efficiency, more carbon-intensive vehicles into cleaner, more affordable transportation options, with more significant, direct assistance to low-income Vermonters.
- Over $1 million to expand the Mileage Smart Program run by the state’s community action agencies to assist lower-income Vermonters in accessing used hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and fully electric vehicles.
- $50,000 for electric bike incentives as a way to help reduce single-occupancy vehicle travel.
- $1 million to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure to help reduce range anxiety, expand charging opportunities in multi-family dwellings and more.
To enhance and more equitably support the transition to more electric, fuel efficient vehicles, the T-Bill also:
- Requires the development of a plan to electrify buses.
- Creates a goal and a map to achieve higher penetration of electric vehicle charging near interstate exits and state highways.
- Expands access to state electric vehicle incentives for non-profits providing alternative transportation options, like Car Share Vermont.
- Importantly, requires the creation of and a focus on developing a transportation equity framework.
Expanded investments in (zero-fare!) transit, demand management programs, downtowns and more:
- Continues zero-fare transit across the state for one more year (up to FY 2023).
- Expands the state’s commitment to Go Vermont, a key partner in helping to foster transportation demand management solutions and advance important grant programs such as the Mobility Transportation Infrastructure Grants to stimulate new transit solutions for Vermont’s rural communities.
- A $5 million increase to the Downtown Transportation fund. (A one time General Fund allocation)
- A restatement of prioritizing safety measures for high-use bike corridors.
April 2, 2021 — In March, the Vermont House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the annual Transportation Bill. It includes increased investments in electric vehicle and high efficiency vehicle incentives, as well as fare-free transit and other dollar-saving, pollution reducing strategies.
These will help Vermont — and more vulnerable Vermonters in particular — reduce reliance on fossil fuel powered, single occupancy vehicles and access more clean, affordable mobility options.
Now, the Vermont Senate is considering the Transportation Bill, and ideally will make greater investments in these tested and new programs. Find a helpful summary of the transportation modernization package from our friends at VPIRG here.
We’ll continue to keep you updated on the progress of the T-Bill (as it’s called) through our Climate Dispatch and other venues! Stay tuned.