Climate Dispatch: February 10th, 2023: Tackling Climate and Affordability in Vermont’s Two Largest Carbon Emitting Sectors

Today’s Episode

This week we’re joined by Kati Gallagher, Sustainable Communities Program Director at VNRC, and Ben Edgerly-Walsh, Climate and Energy Program Director at VPIRG. Tune in to learn more from them both about efforts to tackle emissions and affordability in Vermont’s two largest sectors for carbon pollution – the transportation and thermal sectors. 

First, get an in-depth overview from Kati about H.101, the Transportation Affordability Act, a policy vehicle for proposing many new and needed transportation investments. Kati also coordinates Transportation for Vermonters (T4VT), a diverse coalition committed to working together across sectors to achieve a sustainable, accessible transportation system in our rural state. T4VT has put forth a 2023 policy agenda, from which many priorities have been included in this year’s Transportation Affordability Act. Some important highlights of the T4VT policy agenda that have already been incorporated into H.101 are: 

  • Identify and advance a sustainable, equitable, long-term transportation funding mechanism 
  • Enact short-term funding to maintain and expand transit services 
  • Expand the E-bike incentive program with a $500k investment 
  • Create context-sensitive, multimodal projects that support smart growth through updating the Vermont State Standards 
  • Enhance the efficacy and results of Vermont’s Complete Streets Program, while expanding technical support for municipalities 
  • Allocate $10 million for the Mobility & Transportation Innovation (MTI) grant program to support innovative initiatives like micro-mobility

Then, hear from Ben with an update on S.5, the Affordable Heat Act, as the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee continues to hear testimony from numerous stakeholders on the policy. The committee is also beginning to work on additional improvements to the bill to ensure that lower-income Vermonters are able to access clean technologies, and ensure that electricity and weatherization efforts are prioritized over fuels with higher levels of carbon emissions. Learn more about the Affordable Heat Act, and improvements that are being made to the bill, here

Call to Action

The fossil fuel industry is drumming up a lot of opposition to the Affordable Heat Act. It’s never been more important to make your voice heard and ask your lawmakers to support an affordable, climate-accountable Affordable Heat Act. Find your legislators and their contact information here. 

Additionally, you’re invited to join us on the morning of Wednesday, February 22nd at the State House for a T4VT Coffee & Lobby Day! Our elected officials need to hear from you on why we need a transportation system that is safe, accessible, and sustainable. The T4VT Coffee & Lobby Day is an opportunity to share your transportation stories and priorities with legislators. Whether you’re an experienced citizen advocate or have never spoken to a legislator, we hope you can join us! We’ll provide training and resources, you just need your voice. You can find more information and register to join here.