VT: Gov. Shumlin Signs $554 Million Transportation Bill

June 14, 2011
Gov. Peter Shumlin today signed the fiscal year 2012 transportation bill, a $554 million package that includes funding for paving and bridge repair, flood disaster assistance and much more.

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Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vt., issued the following news release:

Gov. Peter Shumlin today signed the fiscal year 2012 transportation bill, a $554 million package that includes funding for paving and bridge repair, flood disaster assistance and much more.

"A strong economy requires a 21st Century infrastructure," the Governor said. "Transportation spending helps create jobs and is critical to growing Vermont's economy."

More than $410 million of the transportation program will be invested directly in infrastructure projects, mostly in construction and related spending. That $410 million in infrastructure spending in FY2012 could support over 11,400 jobs.

"A sound transportation system also supports economic growth by enabling companies to expand and locate in Vermont," Gov. Shumlin said.

The bill signing took place at the state's Central Garage on the Barre-Montpelier Road in Berlin, which was flooded in last week's storms.

Officials from Barre, Montpelier and Berlin were invited to attend. Gov. Shumlin outlined some of the investment the state has made in helping communities recover from the most recent storm, including:

* Dispersing over 100 employees from the Districts (6, 7 and some borrowed from 4) to work non-stop on cleanup and repair, as well as 10 employees from the Traffic Shop and the Survey section to assist with flagging.

* Deploying 50 employees from many different contractors, as well as dozens of trucks, loaders and excavators.

* Providing over $50,000 in gravel and rock to shore up roads

* Working on a number of major washouts, culvert failures, bridge failures and landslides. Districts have replaced a number of culverts, repaired road banks, installed temporary bridges, fixed washouts and roadside banks, and are busy ditching along the edge of roads to keep water out of the traveled way.

"There is much work to be done, and cleanup is expected to take most of the summer," Gov. Shumlin said.

He also urged Vermonters to support their local downtown businesses that have been hit by the flooding. The Governor said Barre, Berlin and Montpelier - as well as other local communities hit by flood damage - are open for business, and employers need everyone's support at this time.

This year's Transportation Bill authorizes total spending of $554 million dollars, making this the third consecutive year of transportation spending that exceeds $550 million. The transportation program represents a $137 million increase (33 percent) over pre-stimulus transportation investments and demonstrates the Shumlin Administration's strong commitment to improving Vermont's transportation infrastructure.

"This FY2012 transportation bill marks the beginning of my administration's focus on safety, mobility, economic development and environmental stewardship," Gov. Shumlin said. "It also begins our approach to addressing deferred maintenance and expediting project delivery. Our current challenges require us to emphasize maintenance of the existing system - particularly bridges and highways - while investing across all transportation modes including rail, public transportation, and bicycle/pedestrian programs."

The following are some highlights of the FY2012 program:

* $554 million total transportation budget that for the 3rd consecutive year exceeds $550 million.

* $106 million for bridges: This demonstrates our commitment to improving Vermont's bridges by funding bridge programs at more than $100 million for the 2nd consecutive year. Total funding for bridge and culvert programs is nearly double the pre-stimulus level of spending.

* $77 million for paving: This is $20 million higher (36 per cent) than pre-federal stimulus levels, and more than double the average size of the Paving Program in the three year period FY2004 - FY2006. This program is anticipated to improve over 100 miles of interstate highways and 135 miles of state highways.

* $55 million for rail: The bill includes nearly $34 million to upgrade the Amtrak Vermonter service along the eastern corridor, and also supports and encourages the Agency of Transportation to continue to pursue a federal grant to upgrade the western rail corridor.

* This bill includes only a few minor changes to my original proposal to the Legislature. This demonstrates the shared commitment of two branches of government to a strong transportation system. It also reflects the success of the Legislature and the Agency of Transportation shared commitment to developing and implementing a rational system of project prioritization and asset management. This has resulted in fewer projects to debate and disagree upon.

* Several of the more significant projects funded include:

a. $15.5 million to complete construction of the new Addison - Crown Point Bridge.

b. $8.1 million for the Brattleboro I-91 bridges.

c. $7.1 million for I-91 paving in Hartland and Norwich.

d. $6 million for I-91 paving in Irasburg and Derby.

e. $7 million for Barre's North Main St.

f. $6.1 million for paving projects thorough Troy, Newport, and Coventry.

g. $5.7 million for the Morristown Truck Route.

h. $8.4 million for Route 2 in Danville and Cabot.

i. $7 million to rehabilitate the Richmond Route 2 bridge.

j. $7 million for northern leg of the Bennington Bypass, and

k. $34 million in federal grants to upgrade the state's eastern rail corridor, with a total investment of $46.8 million when combined with $13 million of private investment.

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