Federal transportation money gives Vermont $55.5 million boost

Vermont is going to get $55 million more in transportation funds than it may have gotten if federal money wasn’t restored for the nation’s transportation restoration and maintenance efforts.

The federal program, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (the FAST Act) runs for five years, distributing $305 billion to state transportation agencies through 2020. The rescission proposal was to slash it by $7.5 billion, but with that money restored, Vermont gets about $220 million per year.

“This funding represents the primary way in which Vermont funds state transportation projects, and it generally accounts for half the state’s total transportation budget,” a VTrans press release states.

Vermont Secretary of State's Office

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he is pleased that the money is back.

“Repealing this rescission is just common sense,” he said. “Vermont, like every state, is in dire need of real infrastructure investments. Cutting states’ abilities to respond to these infrastructure needs by imposing this rescission would be dangerous. I’m pleased that the continuing resolution I helped negotiate included its repeal.”

Gov. Phil Scott also commented on the development, expressing appreciation for Leahy’s work.

“Our highway system is critical to a strong economy and this funding will help us continue to maintain the roads that Vermonters count on daily, and visitors use to travel and enjoy our beautiful state,” he said. “I appreciate our congressional delegation’s support of this important funding.”

Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn said the funding ensures that Vermont  can continue with all of its planned construction projects in 2020 “to maintain Vermont’s state and interstate highways for the traveling public.”

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers annual report card for states, in 2019 Vermont received a C grade for its overall infrastructure. Regarding transportation including bridges and roads, Vermont ranked C+.

“On average, approximately 5 percent of bridges are structurally deficient, compared with 9.6 percent in 2012,” the report card states. “The decrease in structurally deficient bridges has been accomplished despite a recent shortfall in funding. However, progress could be slowed or even reversed without a clear and consistent funding mechanism that provides long-term support for bridge infrastructure.”

American Society of Civil Engineers

Vermont has made significant progress in addressing bridge needs over the past 10 years. VTrans set a goal for percentage of bridges that are structurally deficient at 6% for the interstate, 10% for state bridges, and 12% for town bridges. For the period 2007 to 2017 the deficiency status of interstate, state, and town bridges has greatly improved as shown.

On roads, the report from the civil engineers said by one measure, “the state currently only has approximately two-thirds of the funding it needs to maintain its assets in a state of good repair,” adding that severe winter storms have proven challenging for regular highway system operations and maintenance.

Sen. Dick Mazza, D-Grand Isle, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, said the funding is very good news.

“I do know that it’s something we’re really looking forward to,” he told True North. “As Vermonters know, we have tried over the years to upgrade our bridges and do some more paving and help communities.”

He added: “This is a tremendous boost to us. We now can either get further ahead on our projects, and get some badly needed infrastructure improved, because we were worried about … what would happen.”

Vermont spends about $115 million in road paving each year. This latest development might enable the state to boost paving by another $20 million. Mazza said Vermont has a lot of projects “ready to go,” but which haven’t had the necessary funding.

“We were in bad shape, especially on our bridges, and we’ve made a tremendous amount of progress in the last couple of years,” Mazza said. “We are getting ahead of the curve now; we’re where we want to be.”

He said a lot of the money gets directed to helping municipalities who otherwise are limited to local tax revenue.

“We help municipalities on some of their projects,” he said. “If we can balance it out with everybody, we’re all set.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of American Society of Civil Engineers and Vermont Secretary of State's Office

10 thoughts on “Federal transportation money gives Vermont $55.5 million boost

  1. Leahy, Sanders and Welch progressivesare obstructionist tools of the left. Ask them why spending there was a proposal to rescinded $$. Wasn’t it withheld because of some talk about being a sanctuary state. It’s about time Leahy did something for Vermont. I know that he hasn’t done anything recently, because if he had, you would see his face in the news.
    Why don’t our senators and congressman work to come up with a different way to fund transportation other than a fuel tax? If we are going to go to all electric, Vermont is going to be sucking hind teat for funding our infrastructure.

    • Leaky’s latest prime desire is to open travel to Communist Cuba in spite for the troubles there. A BO copycat. Boy doesn’t this help the US? Perhaps Cuba will open their prisons and send prisoners to America back when Carter was Prez.

      So important. Load up our prisons. He escaped the EB-5 corruption in VT, wish he was held accountable. VT’s finest.

  2. Great more money to spend on electric buses, charging stations in park and rides, and bike paths. But the money is free after all.

  3. We all pay plenty of federal gasoline taxes!

    it’s our money, not a gift from Leahy or Foggy Bottom

  4. Money for fixing the highways and bridges, good appropriate expenditure?
    Travel I-91 the Canadian logging trucks over a short time create ruts in the North Bound lane. Heavy weights. When it rains there’s two ribbons of “rivers” flowing down the hills.

    This is serious for hydroplaning. If you don’t have aggressive tire treads or worn tires, you can have trouble and meet a guard rail or trees.

    The state is re-paving often in severe areas. It’s a cost to the state (with fed funding). The Canadian truckers (companies) don’t contribute. At weigh stations they should be charged accordingly to weight and their front tires

    Also learned from a trucker. Trucks can have narrow front wheels or wider. The wider ones aren’t so easier to steer, whereas the narrow ones steer easier. But it the narrow wheels that cause the damage. The main weight is in the front en, engine and cab. That puts a lot of pressure on the road at the front, not in the log trailer load where the tires are evenly separated.

    There should be regulations to control this problem and the resultant scenario.

    • Scott, the Flip-Flim-Flop type, and Donavon will have to convene a committee and commission the need before they can meet.
      This will take until the next round of highway money is due out, and they probably believe that all problems with wear and tear will be stopped until a finding is made from this charade. This is how it works, and the taxpayer and business people are on the hook trying to make a life in VT. Stupidity has really taken over. It is time for a house cleaning, from top to bottom….. send ’em all packing, with a note not to return. Some of us have had enough.

  5. As far as Federal funds and Babbling Pat Leahy is just cronyism nothing more, Leahy has
    been in that seat since 1975…….palms have been greased !!

    As far as Flip-Flop Phil, let’s see how he and his Progressives squander this taxpayer money,
    as they think it FREE……………..

    I’d like to see a list of projects, cost projections, and completion dates !!!

  6. Why don’t they show the real portrait of Leaky Leahy, as seen on TV during the Kavanaugh hearings. He was about going to sleep reading his questioning being stumped over. His statement had to be written by a staffer.

    Vt’s finest. Bet the country had a laugh. I don’t think I could read while sleeping. Masterful!

  7. If there happened to be someone who was unaware, they may well think that the operation of Congress and the resulting benefits coming Vermont’s way were the product of one person , Leaky Leahy. He and Phil Scott are the Trump Bashers and haters in chief, this will come to light once more when the impeachment trial hits the Senate I am sure. It is not a wonder to me that Vermont’s receipts from the Federal Government could be in jeopardy because of the constant bashing and slamming by these two clowns. We have been exposed to their nonsense for too long, it is time all three D C residents from VT turn in their keys as well as Scott.

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