New Vermont transportation budget provides record funding
July 18, 2022
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has signed into law a new transportation budget that is touted as being “record setting.”
The budget includes funding for the state’s transportation program and miscellaneous changes to transportation laws.
Previously H736, the new budget totals more than $878 million – the largest-ever state transportation budget. The previous fiscal year budget totaled about $680 million.
Governor touts opportunity
Funding comes from multiple sources that include the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a five-year federal transportation funding bill that provides record federal funding to states.
The governor said the funding source covers highway construction and paving, bridge maintenance and repairs, public transit, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Programs to reduce transportation emissions also are included.
“With this unprecedented funding opportunity, we will make many needed improvements to the statewide transportation system and expand infrastructure and services,” Scott said in a news release. “Expanding and improving our transportation system is critical to our work to increase economic equity and opportunity from region to region, support safe and healthy communities and grow our economy.”
Additionally, the new budget is funded with state money and the American Rescue Plan Act.
H736 includes nearly $160 million to pave state highways and interstates. Specifically, funds will be used for 64 construction projects and 590 miles of paving, as well as 91 miles of rehabilitation to widen shoulders to benefit pedestrian access and mobility.
Another $51.3 million is earmarked to fund 37 projects to construct and reconstruct intersections and roadway segments.
New general fund bridge program investments account for another $225 million. A portion of the funds will allow the state to double funding for the town highway bridge program.
The construction of bridges funded by the program are off the federal aid system. Affected bridges will be funded at 100% federal, which the governor says will save towns and the state from using significant resources.
Public transit will receive $44.5 million.
Additionally, $36.25 million will be made available to continue implementing programs to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.
“The signing of this historic transportation bill into law will enable VTrans and the DMV to complete many critical projects sooner than anticipated, with an end result of better services and more transportation options for Vermonters,” Agency of Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn stated.
A separate provision covers large vehicles violating the Smugglers’ Notch restrictions of state Route 108.
Penalties can be assessed against the employer of the vehicle operator, if operating in the scope of employment, or the operator of the vehicle, if operating for personal purposes.
The vehicle prohibition on the mountain pass in Lamoille County, Vt., no longer refers specifically to commercial vehicles. Instead, the prohibition is based on length of vehicle and not type of vehicle.
Specifically, commercial single-frame motor vehicles exceeding 40 feet in length and tractor units with one or more attached trailers over 45 feet in length are prohibited from operating on the Smugglers’ Notch segment of state Route 108.
Violators face fines up to $2,000. LL