Transportation

The challenge of winter driving awaits. "Vermont Edition" gets you ready for the excitement ahead.
REKINC1980 / iStock

Snow and ice are fantastic for skiing, riding, skating and sledding. But while sliding along at speed can be fun on hillsides and frozen ponds, those same properties can make driving in the winter a challenge.

Vermont Edition gets you prepped for the tricky traffic ahead by understanding the science of snow tires, winter driving strategies and a look at what plans VTrans has for salting and brining the roadways during our icy season.

A daytime rendering of the new Champlain bridge that is currently under construction. "Montreal Gazette" reporter Jason Magder spoke to "Vermont Edition" to update on the bridge's progress.
Infrastructure Canada, Courtesy

A massive new bridge is rising over the St. Lawrence River this side of Montreal. Construction on the new Champlain Bridge began almost two years ago, and when finished, the bridge will accommodate six lanes of traffic, a commuter rail system and a bike path.

But whether the bridge will be finished by a December 2018 deadline is the subject of some concern by both the builders and government officials.

Deicing winter roads by applying salt is poisoning Vermont's ecosystems, and experts say it’s over-salting by private contractors in parking lots and other urban areas that are increasingly the source of the salt.
Modfos / iStock

Salt used for deicing and winter road management is poisoning Vermont's ecosystems, but it isn't coming from where you'd think. Parking lots and congested urban areas are increasingly the source of the salt, winter managers say. Drivers expecting visibly salted roads, and a lack of standards for private companies offering salting services, has many calling for tough standards to stop the problem cold.

Commuter rail fans in New Hampshire received some good news recently. A private train company is offering to connect Nashua and Bedford to Lowell, Mass., with the promise that the towns won’t be on the hook beyond the costs of maintaining a station. If you’ve been following commuter rail issues in New Hampshire for the past two decades, this funding scenario may jog some memories.

We look at the economic and environmental viability of electric vehicles in a rural state like Vermont.
Boarding1Now / iStock

There are some positive virtues of electric vehicles, like reducing carbon emissions created by conventional gas-powered engines. But where does the money meet the road?

Electric vehicles and a charging station in Burlington, where utilities and car dealerships announced new incentives for electric cars on Tuesday.
Henry Epp / VPR

A group of electric utilities, car dealerships and government officials in Vermont are pushing incentives aimed at making electric vehicles more affordable.

This railroad bridge is part of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail in Morrisville. According to the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, there are 42 bridges to repair or replace along the trail before it is complete.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers and the state have finalized an agreement regarding the construction of a four-season trail across Vermont.

Gov. Phil Scott says he would support a "libertarian approach" to legalizing personal possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Angela Evancie / VPR

Throughout his political career as a state senator, lieutenant governor and now as governor, Phil Scott has always opposed legislation that would allow police to stop drivers who are not wearing a seat belt. But the governor says he's now rethinking how he feels about this issue.

Railroad veteran Charlie Moore, left, has joined David Blittersdorf, right, in Blittersdorf's effort to establish commuter rail in Vermont.
Steve Zind / VPR

Wind developer David Blittersdorf has put millions of dollars into a plan to bring commuter train service back to Vermont, and the new service could begin as early as next year.

All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation say the president's transportation infrastructure plan is a giveaway to Wall Street investment firms.
tomazi / iStock

While all three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation support a $1 trillion plan to rebuild America's roads and bridges, they say President Trump's transportation proposal is a giveaway to Wall Street investment firms, and will send tolls skyrocketing.

Turnpike Road in Norwich was damaged during flash flooding this past summer. VPR's Howard Weiss-Tisman spoke to "Vermont Edition" about his recent stories looking at flood insurance.
Rebecca Sananes / VPR

The rain keeps coming and flash floods have caused a lot of infrastructure damage around Vermont, so much so that the state is applying for federal aid. Vermont Edition explains the extent of the damage and how towns, the state and the federal government will sort out the repairs.

iStock

When you're driving, how closely do you pay attention to the shoulders of the road? Cyclists and pedestrians are generally aware of how vulnerable they are in traffic, but distracted drivers can forget to be on the lookout.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bostontx/

President Trump announced on Monday a plan to turn air traffic control at the nation's airports over to a non-profit corporation, a plan that worries Gene Richards, director of aviation at Burlington International Airport.

A sign in Stowe alerts trucks on Route 108 before the Smugglers' Notch section, as seen in this June 3, 2016 photo. Josh Schultz of the Vermont Agency of Transportation is tasked with trying to fix the problem of stuck trucks in Smugglers' Notch.
Wilson Ring / Associated Press

If there's one place in Vermont a big truck should never go, it's Smugglers' Notch. But since trucks still do get stuck in the notch, the Vermont Agency of Transportation is working on figuring out new ways to warn approaching drivers.

vitpho / iStock

Lumber, oil, food, electronics, pretty much anything you can get your hands on - a truck probably carried it part of the way to where you are. We're talking about truckers and the trucking industry in Vermont.  We'll look at how the lives of truckers have changed, and the ongoing challenges faced by the industry.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The Burlington Electric Department is offering to help their customers upgrade to electric vehicles, by contributing $1,200 to the cost of each new car.

Vermont's Department of Motor Vehicles was breaking Vermont law when it searched its records using facial recognition software, Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan says.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Gov. Phil Scott ordered the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend a facial recognition system on Thursday, days after the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union called for a halt to the program.

A street corner in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

Think about ideal images of downtowns and village centers, and a few ideas will come to mind – thriving storefronts, neighbors bumping into each other and public places for people to gather. Author Philip Langdon might argue that's the result when we design our downtowns to be walkable.

Steve Zind / VPR

Last spring, analyses of five years of data revealed clear racial disparities in Vermont State Police traffic stops. But after conversations with the troopers whose stops showed the greatest disparities, state police officials say they’ve found no instances of implicit or explicit racial bias.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

Ray Pronto’s story starts simple enough. He left his hometown of Newport and landed in Pennsylvania, in the Pittsburgh area, where he founded a business in title insurance and loan closings. The company grew — a lot.  

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