WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Wednesday announced that the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act, which today passed out of the Environment and Public Works Committee, will include nearly $1.4 billion for Vermont’s roads, bridges, and transit systems.
After the committee voted to send the legislation to the Senate floor today, Sen. Sanders, who helped draft the bill, celebrated the funding for his home state. “In 2019, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our state a ‘C’ on our infrastructure report card,” said Sen. Sanders. “It is no secret that our infrastructure is crumbling. And it is no secret that strong and resilient infrastructure is critical for Vermonters, our economy, and the future of our state. My priority here is to make sure Vermont continues to receive the federal resources it needs to improve our roads and our bridges and this bill does just that. I am very pleased with what we were able to accomplish today.”
The bill, which authorizes federal spending on transportation for the next five years, increases funding for Vermont by 21% in year one and by 31% over the life of the bill. Vermont will receive additional funding from a provision ensuring all states obtain some competitive grant dollars from the Bridge Investment Program.
Sen. Sanders led on a number of proposals for Vermont, including a program that increases federal cost share and extends timelines for emergency relief funding on storm-related projects. This provision, the Federal Highways Emergency Relief Program, includes 100% reimbursement of state highway repairs made 270 days after a disaster – up from 180 days to allow more time for Vermont projects that are stalled during the winter months.
Additionally, the legislation passed today by the EPW Committee more than doubles funding nationally for the National Scenic Byways Program, up from $16 million in 2020 – the first time it had been funded in nine years – to $40 million each year through 2026. The bill also secures a number of additional state investments, including:
- Better program flexibility to allow Vermont to fund both Amtrak services and transit services;
- Increased program flexibility for highway education and enforcement activities; and
- A larger cap for multimodal projects to allow Vermont to continue making critical investments in our state-owned rail system.
“The vote today, to clear the Environment and Public Works committee, is a major first step for Vermont to receive the federal support it needs to improve our transportation systems,” said Sen. Sanders. “I look forward to helping to advance this bill through the committee process and onto the Senate floor.”