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Two Things: Legislative Update and Fare-Free Transit

Two things: Lots going on in the legislature this week, and a story about Marlena, who moved to Vermont for lakes, rivers, and…fare free transit!

Stay informed, stay connected—two things.

What’s the Latest in the Legislature? Long-Term Climate Resilience Means Smart Growth and Intact Forests

The Affordable Heat Act is Moving in the Senate — The Senate Appropriations Committee is currently considering S.5, the Affordable Heat Act, and we anticipate they’ll vote to advance it to the full Senate this week. Over the last two years, the cost of #2 fuel oil has risen by about $2.00/gallon – but there are lower-cost, cleaner, more price-stable, and local heating solutions, and the Affordable Heat Act will help ensure everyone can access them. Now is a moment to call your Senators and ask them to support the Affordable Heat Act. Find your Senators and their contact information here. Thank you for reaching out and supporting needed climate action.

Smart Growth Housing — S.100, the Senate’s omnibus housing bill, was voted out of the Senate Economic Development Committee last week and is now being considered by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Energy. With sprawling development a major contributor to our transportation-related pollution, fragmentation of natural resources, and shortage of affordable homes, increasing housing choice in Vermont’s compact centers is a critical step toward building resilience. While there are several provisions in the bill that will support compact housing in areas served by water and wastewater infrastructure, the draft legislation includes other policies that would undermine ongoing efforts to improve Act 250 and pose threats to Vermont’s smaller villages and communities. Read more on Smart Growth housing here.

Forests and Biodiversity—According to the U.S. Forest Service, Vermont is losing approximately 12,500 acres of forestland every year to development, causing significant impacts to our forest ecosystem health and our natural and working lands economy. The Vermont House of Representatives will soon be voting on a bill to support biodiversity and land conservation (H.126), otherwise known as the “30 x 30” bill, which recognizes that Vermont’s most effective and efficient contribution to conserving biological diversity and maintaining a state that is resilient to climate change is to conserve an intact and connected landscape. To do this, H.126 will help implement Vermont’s Climate Action Plan by setting conservation goals for the State of Vermont; specifically, to conserve 30% of Vermont’s land by 2030, and 50% by 2050. To implement the goals, the Agency of Natural Resources and Vermont Housing and Conservation Board would create an inventory of conserved lands, and work with diverse stakeholders to develop a plan to help landowners meet the conservation goals established in the bill. 

Learn more about our work to ensure healthy forests and wildlife here.

A Story about Fare-Free Transit

In the latest People, Places & Transportation blog hosted by VNRC and T4VT (Transportation For Vermonters), Marlena shares her story about moving from San Francisco to Vermont for the lakes and hiking—but mostly for the fare-free transit. Read it here.

People, Places & Transportation is a monthly blog about how to shape a cleaner, greener, more accessible, and more sustainable transportation future in Vermont. This blog originated with Sustainable Transportation Vermont, and lives on as a joint initiative of VNRC and T4VT. Subscribe here.