Climate Dispatch: February 3, 2023: The Transportation Affordability Act with Rep. Mollie Burke

Today’s Episode

This week we’re joined by Representative Mollie Burke, a long-time climate champion in the Vermont Legislature and member of the House Transportation Committee. This session, Representative Burke is excited to be sponsoring, alongside 35 of her fellow legislators, H.101, the Transportation Affordability Act. This bill was proactively crafted by legislators as a framework for what they see as the most pressing transportation investments needed in the annual Transportation Bill – Vermont’s large, overarching policy for State transportation funding. 

As Representative Burke outlines in the Dispatch, the Transportation Affordability Act recommends many important investments to increase clean transportation options, multi-modal transportation access, safety and walkability, public transit, and more. Some of the major buckets of investment in H.101 include: 

  • Complete Streets – Amending the state’s Complete Streets policy so that all phases of transportation projects managed by the State must incorporate Complete Streets principles, to ensure accommodation of all users
  • Mobility and Transportation Innovation (MTI) Program grants for public transit – $10 million  for grants to support innovative strategies and projects that improve both mobility and access to services for transit-dependent Vermonters, reduce the use of single-occupancy-vehicles, reduce carbon pollution, and support micro-transit projects.
  • Bike and Pedestrian Program Funding – advise the Agency of Transportation to award at least $10 million in grant funding via the Bike and Pedestrian Program 
  • E-bike incentives – suggested appropriation of $500,000 to the Agency of Transportation to provide incentives for E-bikes in Vermont 
  • And much more, focused on Zero-Fare public transit, further exploring Amtrak Service, increasing our commitment to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure and more.

Call to Action

All of these investments underscore that there’s no silver bullet approach to reducing carbon pollution in Vermont’s largest emitting sector while increasing access to clean, diversified transportation. We’ll continue to keep an eye on all of the important initiatives underway in the Transportation Affordability Act as things progress in the House Transportation Committee. 

In the meantime, S.5, the Affordable Heat Act, is continuing to receive testimony in the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee – and it’s taking a lot of heat. There are calls for doubling down on fossil fuels and far more. Please let your legislators know that you support moving Vermonters off this high-cost, dirty, fossil-fired roller coaster to cleaner, more affordable heating solutions and urge them to support the Affordable Heat Act. Please reach out to your legislators and urge them to support a strong and equitable Affordable Heat Act. Find your legislators and their contact information here. 

If you want more information about the Affordable Heat Act, including answers to some of the big questions about the policy, check out this Frequently Asked Questions.

We look forward to staying in touch on these two important legislative priorities – and much more. Stay warm!