Transportation is the largest source of pollution in Vermont, but new technologies and transportation strategies give us the potential to build a better, cleaner transportation system for Vermonters. Electric vehicles are now available in many different models and classes, from passenger cars to SUVs to buses and trucks, and when plugged in to the relatively clean New England grid EVs get the emissions equivalent of a 100+ mpg conventional vehicle. Ridesharing services have the potential to help link people to public transportation, even in relatively rural communities. And use of public transportation, cycling and walkable neighborhoods are all on the rise. But to scale up these solutions, we need to find new resources for clean transportation investments.
One critical step would be for Vermont to join with states in the Northeast region, California, Ontario and Quebec to create a cap and invest program covering transportation emissions. Such a program would build on the success of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which has helped significantly reduce pollution from electricity in Vermont while saving consumers money and increasing economic growth. Overall, independent analysis has shown that RGGI has produced over $10 billion in health benefits for the Northeast region while reducing climate emissions by 37% and expanding
economic growth by $2.9 billion. Here in Vermont, RGGI has helped fund some of the states most successful efficiency programs, such as Efficiency Vermont’s Home Performance program, which has helped weatherize thousands of homes across Vermont.
An expansion of this model to cover pollution from transportation fuel would allow the state to address critical transportation needs, from expanding public transportation services, to electrifying our vehicle fleet, to protecting our transportation infrastructure from the impact of a changing climate.
Submitted by: Daniel Gatti, Union of Concerned ScientistsEAN Pitch 34 - Daniel Gatti - UCS - Regional Cap and Invest