Vermont is one of 11 states this fall where voters will decide on filling seats for state offices, including the governor’s.
Up for re-election is Gov. Peter Shumlin. The Democrat has signed two transportation bills in the past two years totaling more than $1.2 billion.
A year ago he signed a $554 million package that included funding for road paving and bridge repair, as well as flood disaster assistance following storms that included tropic Storm Irene. It marked the third straight year of transportation funding that exceeded $500 million.
At the time, Shumlin said action was necessary because “a strong economy requires a 21st century infrastructure. Transportation spending helps create jobs and is critical to growing Vermont’s economy.”
This spring Shumlin signed a $658 million transportation bill. The package routes money largely to expand bridge, culvert and repaving efforts and repairs needed following the 2011 storms.
In addition, local communities responsible for paying a portion of repair bills for town projects will see their local match cut in half – from 10 percent to 5 percent – because of federal aid made available to the state following Irene.
Shumlin also ditched the original plans for the Circumferential Highway. The four-lane Chittenden County roadway was first proposed in the early 1950s.
Since then, less than five miles of the planned 12-mile highway linking Williston to Colchester has been built. Additional work has been halted due to litigation and public interest.
Shumlin said a year ago that times have changed and he called for key stakeholders to “look for better ways to meet the region’s current and future transportation needs.” Instead, he has called for “more limited and scalable alternatives” to address traffic needs at existing commercial and industrial sites.
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