Vermont was initially settled in the early 18th century by both the British and French, and conflicts between the two nations continued until the French defeat in the French and Indian War, after which the land was ceded to England. During the American Revolution, Vermont declared independence separately from the original 13 colonies, although the Continental Congress refused to recognize it. Vermont was finally admitted to the union as the 14th state in 1790, after 14 years as an independent republic. The name of the state is derived from” Montagne Verte,” French for green mountain, giving rise to the state’s “Green Mountain State” nickname. Today, Vermont’s mountains are a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. It is the country’s leading producer of maple syrup and is the home of the popular Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
The state is served by Amtrak’s Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express, the New England Central Railroad, the Vermont Railway, and the Green Mountain Railroad.
The Ethan Allen Express serves Castleton and Rutland, while the Vermonter serves St. Albans, Essex Junction, Waterbury, Montpelier, Randolph, White River Junction, Windsor, Bellows Falls, and Brattleboro.
The state has 2,843 miles (4,575 km) of highways under its control. Three Interstate highways and five U.S. highways enter Vermont, in addition to its own state highway network.
Vermont’s main mode of travel is by automobile. 5.7% of Vermont households did not own a car in 2008. In 2012, there were 605,000 motor vehicles registered, nearly one car for every person in the state. This is similar to average car ownership nationwide. In 2012, about half the carbon emissions in the state resulted from vehicles.
On average, 20–25 people die each year from drunk driving incidents, and 70–80 people are in fatal car crashes in the state. Motorists have the highest insurance rates in the country, 93%, tied with Pennsylvania.
In 2010, Vermont owned 2,840 miles (4,570 km) of the highway. This was the third smallest quantity among the 50 states. 2.5% of the highways were listed as “congested,” the 5th lowest in the country. The highway fatality rate was one per 100,000,000 miles (160,000,000 km), tenth lowest in the nation. The highways cost $28,669 per 1 mile (1.6 km) to maintain, the 17th highest in the states. 34.4% of its bridges were rated deficient or obsolete, the 8th worst in the nation.
Individual communities and counties have public transit, but their breadth of coverage is frequently limited. Greyhound Lines services a number of small towns. Two Amtrak trains serve Vermont, the Vermonter, and the Ethan Allen Express. In early 2011, Amtrak evaluated the track used by the Ethan Allen Express between Rutland and Whitehall as the worst in the nation, but subsequent improvements to the track later in 2011 vastly improved its performance going forward.
Trucks weighing less than 80,000 pounds (36,000 kg) can use Vermont’s interstate highways. The limit for state roads is 99,000 pounds (45,000 kg). This means that vehicles too heavy for the interstates can legally use only secondary roads.
In 1968, Vermont outlawed the use of billboards for advertisement along its roads. It is one of four states in the U.S. to have done this, along with Hawaii, Maine, and Alaska.
There is a year-round ferry service to and from New York State across Lake Champlain from Burlington, Charlotte, Grand Isle, and Shoreham. All but the Shoreham ferry are operated by the LCTC (Lake Champlain Transportation Company)
The Lake Champlain Transportation Company (LCTC or just LCT) provides car and passenger ferry service at three points on Lake Champlain in the United States. From 1976 to 2003, it was owned by Burlington, Vermont, businessman Raymond C. Pecor, Jr. who is Chairman of the company’s board. In 2003, he sold the company to his son, Raymond Pecor III.
Lake Champlain is the thirteenth-largest lake in the United States, reaching a maximum width of 12 miles (19 km) and depths of more than 300 feet (91 m). As such, there is no bridging of the “broad lake” north of Crown Point, New York, and south of the Rouses Point-Alburg-Swanton crossing near the Canada–United States border, though bridging of the lake near Plattsburgh has been proposed. The ferry service allows convenient transport across the lake between New York and Vermont. Approximately one million passengers cross the lake by ferry each year.
Burlington International Airport is the largest in the state, with regular flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Washington Dulles, JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Orlando, and Philadelphia. Airlines serving the airport include American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, and United. This is also the airport where the 134th fighter squadron of the 158th fighter wing is located. Known as the “Green Mountain Boys,” this squadron is armed with the Block 30 F-16C/D Fighting Falcon and is tasked with protecting the Northeastern United States from the air.
Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport has regular flights to Boston via Cape Air.