Blog Editor and Contributor: Leigh Cole.  I am a shareholder and director of Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew, PC, a regional law firm in Burlington, VT.  My practice is at the intersection of business, education and the creative economy.  Most of my clients are businesses and educational institutions.  With a national immigration law practice, I advise clients on immigration for international professionals, students and scholars in the United States. Contact me, or visit the Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew, PC, Website >

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>VT Draft Energy Plan and Transportation

The Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) issued its draft comprehensive Energy Plan for public comment this week, right on schedule.  The Commissioner of DPS, Liz Miller, is a friend of our firm (she and our friend Jim Spink worked here before they formed Spink & Miller, and she left Spink & Miller for the position at DPS this year).  A large part of the draft Energy Plan is devoted to energy use in the transportation sector.  It's great to see an organization our firm supports, CarShare VT, held out as a model in the Energy Plan, mentioned by name in both Volume 1 (p. 15) and Volume 2 (p. 296).  We are a business member of CarShare VT and two Dinse lawyers serve on its Board of Directors, Sam Hoar and Dave Gurtman.  The statistics are remarkable.  Vermont ranks 6th in the nation for car miles traveled annually per capita (Volume 2, p.277) after large states Wyoming, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and North Dakota.  Yet 43.7% of Vermont commuters live less than 5 miles from work! (Volume 2, p. 333).   Most Vermonters (74.4%) commute in a single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) (Volume 2, p. 333).   The goals in the draft Energy plan include reducing SOV commuting by 20% and doubling bike and pedestrian commuting by 2030 (Volume 2, p. 341), and supporting employer initiatives to work toward these benchmarks (Volume 2,p. 338).  Our firm is investigating ways to further reduce SOV commuting by our employees, in addition to providing covered bike storage, showers, CarShare VT membership for when folks need a car during the day, SmartBusiness benefits through CCTA and other inducements to commute by bike or on foot.  The ideas in the draft Energy Plan are helpful as we look for ways to expand and amplify our current efforts.