VERMONT CLEAN CITIES COALITION
Hosted by UVM Transportation Research Center
 
eNewsletter 8.12.08
Your clearinghouse for news, programs, and funding related to
reducing  the consumption of petroleum for transportation in Vermont


Events
  • "CNG or LNG Vehicle Safety Training" Downey, CA. August 20-22. More info
  • "Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) 2008 International Conference" Atlanta, GA. August 24-27. More info
  • "Northeast Renewable Energy Conference" Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center, Pennsylvania, August 26 - 28, 2008. More Info
  •  "Best Practices in Telework: How Technology Enables Government Telework" Free Webcast, Wednesday September 17, 2008 1:00-2:00. More Info
  • "Human Powered Vehicle Burlington Bikefest" Burlington and Shelburne, October 4-5. More info

 
Interactive Vermont Clean Cities Blog Here
In This Issue
Funding
Public Transit
Consumption Trends
Policy Watch
Alternative Fuels
In Other Vermont Transportation News
A Glimpse into Transportation at large
Quick Links
Funding
Driving declines reduce Highway Trust Fund

Fewer drivers on the roadThe nation's drivers have reduce their driving by 40 billion miles to cope with high fuel prices. They drove 3.7% fewer miles in May of this year than May of last year, more than double the drop off seen in April.

However fewer miles driven mean that fewer fuel taxes are collected, which is one of the primary ways the Highway Trust Fund is replenished. The Highway Trust Fund provides the money for all national transportation programs including road maintenance, bridge repair, and mass transit; current estimates show that the Fund will have a deficit of $5 billion by 2009.

DOT officials are trying to develop alternative funding mechanisms. The House recently approved an $8 billion transfer from the general fund into the highway fund; however, similar legislation in the Senate was stalled by filibuster soon after.

Anecdotes show that Vermonters are also driving less.

[Sources: Wall Street Journal 7/28 & 7/24, International Herald Tribune, Land Line Magazine]


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Public Transit
Federal transit money comes to the state

The BusMore than $1.5 million in federal grants will help fund more buses in 8 of the 12 transit-serviced areas in Vermont, covering the areas of Addison, Chittenden, Washington, Franklin, Grand Isle, Orange and Windsor Counties, along with Dover, Wilmington, and the Northeast Kingdom.

[Source: Rutland Herald]

Consumption trends
NRDC ranks states on 'oil addiction'

gas in car
The Natural Resources Defense Council ranked Vermont the 31st most 'oil addicted' state in the nation, based on the percentage of income its residents spent on gasoline last year. The average amount Vermont motorists spent on gasoline was $1,856. It also ranked 16th in terms of taking action to reduce this dependency on oil, including smart growth policies and support for regional planning commissions. Full report available here.

[Sources: Boston Globe, Fox News 44]


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Policy Watch
Public Transit forums conclude

VTrans public transitThe Vermont Agency of Transportation has concluded its statewide public forums to inform its Short Range Public Transportation Plan. Average meeting turnout has been around 40. Tentative plans will be created based on the feedback, which will then be presented at another set of forums held in late August or October. At that point top priorities will be identified.

Public input is still welcome at the VTrans website here.

[Source: Rutland Herald]


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Alternative Modes
Carshare Vermont launches website

The nonprofit Carshare Vermont (formerly Green Mountain Car Share) has launched its website that explains how the program works, where its cars are located, how much it costs to participate, and explains benefits of car sharing as well. Organizers anticipate a September launch of the program itself. All locations are currently in Burlington but if the first stage is successful, the organization hopes to expand in the future. 
 
 
 
Alternative Fuels

Pennycress explored as Northeast biodiesel crop

Pennycress plantAn Albany-based developer of alternative fuels will be planting oil-rich pennycress at three sites in New York this fall. Soybean, a popular biodiesel crop, is 18% oil; the seed of pennycress is 36% oil. Pennycress grows over the winter and is often a weed in soy fields, so farmers could produce fuel in the winter and food in the summer planting pennycress and soybeans in short rotation.

[Sources: Times Union, Biofuels Journal]


Alternative Fuels
Biofuel policy recommendations from Harvard Kennedy School researchers

Food AND fuel?A new policy report provides recommendations as to how biofuels policies can best promote their economic and environmental benefits and minimize their drawbacks. Among the conclusions are that governments should avoid simplistic changes to current policies, for example eliminating biofuels mandates and incentives. Instead, the report urges governments to initiate an orderly, innovation-enhancing transition towards incentives that coordinate the multiple goals of biofuels development.

Development of an international market to couple supply and demand is encouraged, as well as incentives for large scale R&D, and biofuel production centered in those regions where feedstocks can be grown most efficiently and where undesirable impacts are the smallest.

Further, the report warns that the potential benefits of an international market could be outweighed by the risks of damage to food and environmental systems unless adequate protective measures are simultaneously introduced. These protective measures will likely include the explicit recognition that sustainable production of biofuels cannot be expanded indefinitely. There are intrinsic limits on the productive capacity of ecosystems, constraining yields per unit of available area and the amount of area that can be dedicated to sustainable biofuels production.

[Source: Harvard Kennedy School of Government]
 

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Did You Know...

In Other Vermont Transportation News...
Bike-Ped planning
Chittenden County Metropolitan Planning Organization updating Regional Bicycle-Pedestrian Plan.
[CCMPO]

Pedestrian needs on South Burlington's front burner. [Burlington Free Press]

Public transit
CCTA is planning to cut service on two Burlington routes and raise the fare on the its Middlebury LINK Express route to counter rising fuel costs.
[VPR, CCTA, Burlington Free Press]

Advance Transit may have to detour two routes to New Hampshire as weight limit for corroded Lebonan-White River Junction bridge is lowered. [Union Leader]

Policy watch
Vermont's Congressman weighs in on his plans for the energy future. [Rutland Herald]


Schools feel the pinch
Milton School District facing 27% increase in transportation costs this year
[Burlington Free Press]

Telecommuting future
Vermont Telecommunications Authority hopes to increase broadband coverage by including mobile broadband technology on cell towers it constructs
[Bennington Banner]


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A Glimpse into Transportation at Large...

The Candidates
The Associate Press compares McCain and Obama energy plans. [Associated Press]

Walking is gaining
Google Maps and AOL Maps have added "Walking Directions" their "Get Directions" tools. [Business Week]

Cellulosic ethanol advances
University of Georgia researchers make efficiency gains in producing cellulosic ethanol. [University of Georgia]

Idling soon a thing of the past?
Executives at Ford, GM and Chrysler say that hybrid technology to eliminate gas consumption during engine idling will be the standard within 10 years. [Examiner.com]

RFS retained
EPA denies Texas request to waive Renewable Fuels Standard. [New York Times, CNN Money, Dallas Morning News]

Impacts of gas prices
Gas prices have increased online sales, reduced grocery and unnecessary purchases, increased efficient driving by trucking companies, and may even be reducing traffic fatalities. [NPR]

Big oil vs. Big Ag
Big Oil is apparently losing ground to Big Ag groups like Archer Daniels Mindland Co. in their influence over U.S. energy policy. [Bloomberg]

Electric cars for India?
Indian auto manufacturer gain TATA to develop electric car. [Newstrack India]

Britain's electric role model
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to replace official Jaguar with electric limo. [Sunday Mirror]

Compressed air to displace gas as fuel?
A compressed air car that gets 100 miles per gallon? [CNN]
Guest Contributor
Become a Vermont Clean Cities Guest Contributor!

Send us your article with sources!
 
Best regards,

Elaine Wang, Graduate Assistant
Vermont Clean Cities Coalition,
University of Vermont Transportation Research Center
Funding

Closing date

Coverage, description, eligibility.

8/30/08
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8/20/08
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8/27/08
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9/15/08
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9/21/08
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9/30/08
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Rolling
[View]
Federal: Rail capcacity improvement study.
Public entities eligible.

State: Biodiesel supplier.


Federal: Research, Development, and Demonstration of Fuel Cell Technologies for Automotive, Stationary, and Portable Power Applications

Regional: New England Grassroots Environment Fund Small Grants

Federal: Clean diesels emerging technologies program

Federal: Capital Assistance to States - Intercity Passenger Rail Service

Federal: Economic Development Assistance Programs


Weekly
Petro-
Stats
                          Gas at the Pump, VT               Crude Oil Futures

This Week    
(Aug 4-10)             $3.925/gallon                       $118.876/barrel

Last Week
(Jul 28-Aug 3)        $3.972/gallon                       $124.574/barrel

This Week             $2.891/gallon
Last Year 
Sources: Gas VT, Crude Oil

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