Vermont senator pushing return to 55 mph speed limit to help meet climate goals

By Rob Roper

MONTPELIER, Vt. — During a briefing from the Energy Action Network on Vermont’s progress for meeting its greenhouse gas reduction goals under the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), Sen. Mark MacDonald, D-Orange, pitched a plan to lower the speed limit on state highways to 55 mph.

Vermont is not on track to meet the ambitions requirements of the GWSA, particularly in the transportation sector where the Climate Council’s primary recommendation of joining the multi-state Transportation Climate Initiative program collapsed in November 2021. In over a year of discussions, the council has still not agreed on a policy substitute. Even signing onto the Clean Cars II initiative, which phases out and finally bans the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles in Vermont by 2035, does not go far enough to meet the GWSA requirements on its own.

MacDonald threw out a few suggestions for how to fill the gap, such as return to the 1970s President Jimmy Carter policy of a 55 mph limit on state highways, noting “When I come into the State House every morning I watch the ‘man caves’ [his pejorative term for pick-up trucks] often with trailers at 80 miles an hour,” and that it wouldn’t cost anything to lower the speed limit.

MacDonald also wanted to know why the state doesn’t do more to discourage citizens from buying what he refers to as “gas guzzlers.”

Jared Duval of the Energy Action Network, who is also a member of the Vermont Climate Council, informed MacDonald that the Climate Action Plan calls for implementing a “vehicle efficiency price adjusting program,” or more simply, “feebates.” Whatever it’s called, it means the state will assess financial penalties on owners of politically unfavored vehicles, and the revenues from those penalties would be used to subsidize drivers of politically favored vehicles.

While policies such as lowering the speed limit and creating a feebate system for vehicle registration might help around the edges, Duval explained to the committee that there are only two ways of possibly meeting the transportation sector goals of the GWSA: a cap and invest/cap and reduce policy for gasoline and diesel (essentially the Transportation and Climate Initiative implemented at the state level rather than regionally, or a performance standard/performance-based regulatory approach.

A performance standard, Duval explained, “is exactly like the clean heat standard [for home heating fuels] but applied to transportation fuels.”

Sen. Becca White, D-Windsor, informed the committee that she has asked council to draft a clean fuels standard bill for consideration.

All of these proposals are regressive in nature, having a greater negative financial impact on lower income Vermonters. Confronted with this fact, MacDonald quipped, “We don’t do things based on helping poor people. We do things to save the world.”

Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. © Copyright True North Reports 2023. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

26 thoughts on “Vermont senator pushing return to 55 mph speed limit to help meet climate goals

    • I mentioned “reframe” as well during my debate as a House candidate. But as long as the presstitutes have their way, the majority of the public will not know their elbow from their knee. The level of indoctrination is unprecedented, and then throw in the go along to get along…runs deep in VT.

  1. To make a point here, the Orange County voters rejected John Klar’s intelligence and experience to vote for this dolt who has been wrong on all most every issue facing VT. Apparently, this example points to the IQ of the rural VT voter. How else can it be explained when voters continually vote for the worst candidate year after year while continuing the destruction of the state and our freedoms. The voters of Orange County owe the rest of us an apology for being either too uninformed, to lazy to learn the issues, to lazy to vote or just too stupid to see that this senator is not representing them. He’s the guy who suggested that if people couldn’t afford to heat their homes that they should buy another blanket. You get what you vote for. Thanks Orange county voters, it’s your fault.

    • “A people who elect corrupt politicians, impostors, thieves and traitors are not victims but accomplices”. George Orwell

  2. What a maroan. When they had that 55 limit last millennium, cars on average got half what they get now. All that speed limiting means more idling, with even less efficiency.
    The only purpose is to irritate people, and show who is boss.
    Old mac is a sadistic meany. How did he get to be boss?

  3. What a statistic. Every VT brainwashed legislator neeeds tio see it. Because if Climate Change has caused the droughts out west….then how does Climate Change – do THIS?…. LOL…it’s Mother Nature and the Pacific ocean that controld so much of things. Not Exxon, fossil fuels or CO2 :

    “In California, 32 trillion gallons of rain and snow fell since Christmas.”

    Earth – to Al Gore & John Kerry….you are ignorant dopes & forever wrong…and beyond RICH from being so,

  4. We can do better.

    Let’s enact a “Victory Speed” limit of 35 miles per hour in Vermont. It defeated Jaq and Gerry back in 1945, it can fix the weather too.

    No Brainer . . .

  5. A must read Op-Ed today….on the Davos climate change elite gathering…all private jets, and caviar. Al Gore and John Kerry were on full display of their insanity…both of them have been 100% wrong – for over 30 years. The Sky isn’t Falling…never did. And people still listen to them? Well, we all know Libs, Dems & Progressives just ain’t that IQ bright….emotions rule them. Sen. Mark MacDonald see’s Gore & Kerry as his climate religious cult cult God’s. Except both Kerry and Gore are EXTREMELY RICH from their Climate Cult endeavors….and Mark MacDonald is just a “useful idiot” pauper. But he worships at their alter….craving power & fame. All Kerry begged for was more money, money, money (just like every VT Liberal)…which won’t do a damned thing against mother Nature’s climate wishess.

  6. If you driver 55 just about anywhere in VT, you get tailgated. — And for me, I’d bet my diesel VW is just as efficient at 65 on I-91, as it is at 55. Maybe we could something really useful, like ban people from other states from coming here, along with all jet travel in and out of Vermont.

  7. Yet another politician afflicted with the DUNNING – KRUGER EFFECT
    The Dunning-Kruger Effect occurs when incompetent people not only fail to realize their incompetence but consider themselves much more competent than everyone else.

  8. Well Old McDonald how ’bout we just go back to riding horses? Or would their methane be too overpowering for the stench of stupid that emanates from the likes of all you leftist marxists? Bringing back idea’s from the peanut farmer failure is indicative of a low IQ non thinker… perhaps you should retire so you don’t get blown off the road by trucks going 65…ps you don’t have built in radar even if you think you do…

  9. Fill our pockets……aka save the planet. They mean the same thing, just depends upon who’s pocket your talking about.

    There are so many ways to be frugal, to be conservative with one’s resources, VT doesn’t allow most of them. 50mpg cars are easy and inexpensive to make, we don’t allow them, unsafe, etc, etc.

    We don’t’ allow small homes to be built, inherently efficient.

    We certainly don’t ban all the second homes that are being heated with nobody in them, that will never happen!

    We help heat single family homes with one person in them on a regular basis, we certainly won’t change that philosophy.

    For some reason the only cure for the planet is give us all your money and we’ll save you! that’s the oldest religious scam on the planet….pharoses and politicians never saved anyone.

    Many a scam artist will get others to believe differently.

    Only one has that power. It ain’t Jim Jones, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, or McDonald! Keep looking.

  10. These virtue signiling politicians claim they are following the science but they ignore the fact that this isn’t the first time that the planet has warmed. We could all park our cars and begom vegetarians ad the planet would continue to warm and the seas would continue to rise. Because that is what the planet has done before and what it will continue to do as ling as ti exists.

    Who/what caused the planet to heat up to the point that Canada was tropical and dinosaurs roamed Montana and Manitoba the last time we had global warming? What caused the planet to begin warming 10,000 years ago when the ice shield that stretched across New England to New Jersey began to melt.

  11. Senator McDonald – Vermont is NOT going to save the world! You and your comrades are going to drive us to Wyoming where they are planning to outlaw EVs!

  12. OH NO!!!! Not get a blanket McDonald again. If he had 2 brains they would be out looking for each other.

  13. Fools in charge, or think they are in charge !!

    This Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), a” boondoggle, ” in itself, and now Sen Mark
    MacDonald, while sipping on his latte while in Montpelier thinks working people headed to
    work should slow down to save the world……………. fools in charge.

    Wake up people you vote for these fools and their agenda.

  14. Duuuuhhhh, more Liberal idiocy. If a car is a gas guzzler, it is the owners problem. There are catalytic converters on many to cut back on supposed pollution…. but VT MAKES MONEY off every low mileage car/truck….because VT TAXES every single gallon used…high road taxes $$ on gas. So lowering speeds, lowers gas use, which lowers VT tax revenues. BESIDES! Why not go after the real cheats…ELECTRIC CARS….they pay ZERO $ for any road taxes…roads THEY use…. to help pay for the broken down, pot hole filled…roads & highways in VT.

  15. I suppose they want to show down those of us who are leeching the state for good. I’m now in a red state, the freedoms are overwhelming! Too bad, I really love vt but don’t miss the government.

  16. Just think about the revenue opportunity! People are generally traveling 70 plus mph on the interstate. Bet they won’t slow down for a 55 mph speed limit.

    • If you make a habit of going 55 MPH on the Interstate your life expectancy is a couple of decades below normal.

  17. The common thread in ALL of the articles in this version of True North Reports is Control of our lives, and how does the Left enhance that concept?
    There is no end to that goal above, as is front and center in this reporting.

    The people have the power to end that concept, but it does not appear imminent at this time.

    • Yes! The culture of our legislature does not call for them to represent some consensus FROM us but to manage our lives FOR us according to some enlightened agenda of their own. What have we done? This is not the participatory self governance our forbearers envisioned..

      • The culture of the Legislature is to think they are GOD.

        Our crowd is Montpelier is so wrapped up in their own importance that they think they must do SOMETHING to better the lives of their constituents or they will not be viewed as useful.

        So they amplify societal conflicts and bloviate about problems that are actually way smaller than the believe and propose obscenely expensive solutions.

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