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Affordable housing and transportation problems

To the editor: I’m reaching out in regards to an article published in the Bennington Banner on Nov. 25, regarding efforts to expand wastewater treatment systems in Arlington.

This article, titled “Zaiac, others: Wastewater treatment leads to growth, housing pressure relief,” details the current push for a wastewater project study in Arlington in order to expand the presence of housing opportunities and small businesses. In the article, it is mentioned that the expansion of housing will reduce many individuals’ need to commute to Arlington for work or other activities. I believe that this point deserves greater attention, given the current climate crisis. Allowing individuals and families to relocate means less travel time, which reduces fossil fuel consumption and resulting emissions.

As a lifetime Vermont resident, the need to commute long distances has been an ongoing issue for myself and my family; due to a lack of affordable housing in my hometown, I had a 45-minute commute to school each way for eight years. Not only was this logistically difficult and financially burdensome, but this situation resulted in otherwise unnecessary contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.

My situation was not unique — I knew many others in similar situations, with commutes of up to two hours each way. If Vermont as a community is going to do its part to combat climate change, there must be a greater push for similar efforts, or even statewide measures, which increase affordable housing and public transportation opportunities across the state. These projects are a much-needed change for Vermont towns and deserve greater attention and consideration. I humbly request that you consider highlighting this point in a future publication in hopes that my thoughts may inspire action within other Vermont communities.

Zayda Kellogg

Bennington, Nov. 29


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