Vermont governor signs $612.6 million transportation bill

Vermont welcome signVermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has signed into law the state’s fiscal year 2017 Transportation Bill, approving $612,574,418 for construction and maintenance of highways, bridges, rail lines, airports and transit projects.

“While maintaining a quality integrated transportation system is critical to the overall economic health of Vermont and the prosperity of Vermonters, safety remains the overriding concern in everything we do at the Agency of Transportation,” says Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary Chris Cole. “Which is why we are investing over $17 million in highway safety. As the overall quality of our infrastructure improves, so does the safety of the traveling public, but this year’s bill also includes important safety provisions like increased usage of ignition interlocks, better definition of the rules of the road around vulnerable users and an update of the rail trespassing law. There are too many highway deaths in Vermont and we collectively need to work together to reduce that number by focusing on our own driving behavior.”

Investments for specific programs include:

  • $111.1 million for paving: An $11.1 million increase (11 percent) compared to fiscal year 2016. This funding will improve over 200 miles of state highway through traditional resurfacing, district leveling and preventive maintenance treatments.
  • $105.1 million for bridges:  An $11.1 million decrease (10 percent) from fiscal year 2016, but the seventh consecutive year that planned bridge spending has topped $100 million. The decrease is attributed to reduced levels of available federal funds.
  • $31.1 million for roadway: A $12.3 million decrease (28 percent) from fiscal year 2016. This includes approximately $5.5 million in construction funds for continued Hurricane Irene repair work, consisting of improvements to several corridors that were impacted by the storm and the repair of multiple, individual storm damaged sites. The remainder of the funding for the program is primarily infrastructure related for such projects as roadway reconstruction, culvert replacement and slope/ledge repair/removal.
  • $17.4 million for highway safety and traffic operations: A $620,000 decrease (3 percent). Highway safety activities for this program are identified through the Highway Safety Improvement Program and the Strategic Highway Safety Plan.
  • $76.4 million for town highway programs: A $27 million decrease (26 percent). This decrease is attributed to a $23 million decrease in FEMA Public Assistance Grants associated with Irene and 2013 disasters, and $3.2 million decrease to Town Highway Structures associated with a one-time budget adjustment that shifted $3.2 million from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2016.
  • Town Highway Programs: This budget level funds the Town Highway Aid program at $26 million, sustaining the fiscal year 2013 increase of $1 million (4 percent) which had not been increased since fiscal year 2005. Town Highway Aid for Non-Federal Disasters (the former Town Highway Emergency Program) is level funded. Funding for Town Highway Aid for Federal Disasters is reduced by $160,000 (11 percent – from 1.44 million to 1.28 million). Funding for the Town Highway Structures is level funded, as are the Town Highway Class 2 and Class 1 Supplemental grant programs.
  • Town Highway Bridges: Funding for town highway bridges is decreased by $2.9 million (13 percent).  This budget funds 21 town highway bridge projects that are ready for construction and 14 additional projects under development.

A full list of planned projects is available at vtransparancy.vermont.gov.