Transportation

Like a lot of us, Amtrak had a rough 2020. Ridership fell nearly half from the prior year.

But with the worst of the pandemic seemingly in the past, Amtrak doesn't just want to get back to where it was before the recession – chugging along, slowly adding new riders for a few decades. It wants Americans to fall back in love with trains.

Amtrak's planning on adding 39 new routes across the country and boosting service on lines that already exist. It's setting a goal of 20 million more customers each year – a 60% jump from its pre-pandemic high.

A walkway with busses on either side of it, with a digital poster in the middle describing that masks are required to board the bus.
Bryant Denton / VPR

In a year that’s taken us for an uncertain ride, public transportation services in Vermont have remained accessible, reliable, and most of all, safe.

School buses.
Elodie Reed / VPR File

As Vermont's school districts become larger and more centralized, some kids will feel the impact in how they get to and from school.

President Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan could bring expanded or improved Amtrak train service to every state in New England.

Every day, Laura Pho walks outside her home and creates a new memorial — a chalk drawing, usually of a heart — on the patch of pavement where her mother died last summer.

"I can see it from my office window," Pho says. "It's nice to be able to see just these bright, beautiful drawings that remind me of my mother, who was also bright and beautiful."

A small building
U.S. National Registry of Historic Sites, Courtesy

With Amtrak service on the way, one Vermont select board is now considering what to do with its historic train depot building, which, where it currently sits, is 14 feet too close to the tracks.

An Amtrak sign in Essex Junction.
Henry Epp / VPR

Back in March, Vermont’s stay-at-home order ground nearly all transportation to a halt. But now, Vermonters are moving around a lot more. More cars and buses are back on the roads, and planes are flying again, though with fewer people on board. But one form of transportation is still nowhere to be seen: passenger rail.

Why passenger rail service is still paused in Vermont. Plus, wells running dry and COVID-19 numbers.

Governor Phil Scott’s unprecedented effort to monitor Vermont’s borders. Plus, a musical moving truck and the latest COVID-19 case numbers.

A person with a face cloth covering with a car passing in the background.
Peter Crabtree / For VPR

A massive data-gathering operation at border crossings across Vermont hasn’t shown a major influx in the number of visitors from states with COVID-19 “hotspots,” according to the Scott administration.

A high brown river under blue cloudy sky.
Jane Lindholm / VPR File

Each week, VPR reaches out to different local newspapers to find out what stories are top-of-mind in their communities.

This week, we speak with Gregory Lamoureux from The County Courier about flood damage under a section of highway in Franklin County.

Cars drive on a highway.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Brave Little StateVPR's people-powered journalism project that puts listener questions about Vermont at the heart of the story, takes up a pair of question about driving in Vermont: one asking what it will take for Vermonters to drive less, the other about an oft-delayed highway project bogged down in red tape for more than 50 years.

A bus in a station with a person crossing a crosswalk in front of it.
Elodie Reed / VPR

For a state that calls itself green, Vermont sure has a lot of drivers. So what can be done?

A woman stands with her hand on a tower of filing cabinets.
Emily Corwin / VPR

When Norwich resident Max Porter drives to Burlington to visit his mom, he gets off Interstate 89 and onto Interstate 189, a tiny spur of highway that ends at a crossroad, and cement barriers.

Buses at a station.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Are you a train lover? A bus devotee? A carpool zealot? A regular person who also dreams of improved public transit? Brave Little State wants to hear from you.

Archival photo from 1964 of farmer Romaine Tenny's farm in Ascutney.
UVM Landscape Change Program / Vermont State Archives and Records Administration

Fifty-five years ago, farmer Romaine Tenney set fire to his barns and farmhouse, with himself inside, after his land was seized by the state to make way for Interstate 91. Now Vermont is planning a permanent memorial to the Ascutney farmer. Vermont Edition spoke with authors and historians about how we remember Tenney and other farmers forced to sell their farms for the sake of development.

Traveling from Concord to Lebanon along Route 4, you’re likely to see people walking or biking on the Northern Rail Trail. While Potter Place Station has been preserved, that 50 plus mile stone dust path is really all that remains of the once thriving Northern Railroad.

A jet that landed at the Northeast Kingdom International Airport.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

In recent years, the state has put a lot into upgrading infrastructure at the Northeast Kingdom International Airport, in Coventry. But those improvements were made in conjunction with expected private sector developments in the region which never happened. Despite that, has the airport seen a boom in business?

The train track and a station near the Burlington Waterfront bike path.
Elodie Reed / VPR

It started with a senator's vision for passenger rail. Now $100 million and 23 years later, what happened to plans to bring Amtrak service from Rutland to Burlington?

A man stands next to hitching posts in Worcester and Montpelier.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

If you're traveling Route 12 between Montpelier and Worcester, there's a new ride-share option for folks willing to try something a little out of the ordinary. It's called "coffee-pooling."

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