One year removed from signing a “record-setting” transportation budget bill, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has followed up by signing “the largest ever” transportation budget.
The annual omnibus bill includes funding for the state’s transportation program and miscellaneous changes to transportation laws.
Funding comes from sources that include the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a five-year federal transportation funding bill that provides federal funding to states. The new bill is also funded with state money.
The governor said the funding sources cover highway construction and paving, bridge maintenance and repairs, public transit, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Programs to reduce transportation emissions also are included.
The new transportation bill, H479, includes more than $140 million for paving projects that will cover more than 450 miles of improvements.
Another $18.2 million is designated for bicycle, pedestrian, and transportation alternatives program funding. The money will be used for 55 construction projects and the design of 37 additional projects across the state.
Public transit is slotted in at $48.8 million. Rail projects will receive $43 million.
Additionally, $27.9 million will be made available to continue implementing programs to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.
Scott said the investments made in the bill “will benefit Vermonters for years to come.”
Higher fees removed
Lawmakers removed from the bill provisions to increase vehicle fees that include registrations, driver’s license fees, and truck permits. H479 initially called for raising rates by about 20% starting Jan.1.
The increases would have raised about $20.5 million over the next year.
The governor tabbed the increases as unfair and unneeded. He pointed out that the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles previously testified they do not need the money.
Scott said he would not sign the bill with the higher fees included. LL