The Vermont Legislature has reached agreement on a $341 million transportation budget that boosts spending on the state’s roads and bridges. The bill now moves to Gov. James Douglas for his signature.
House and Senate lawmakers approved spending $40 million for paving and $53 million for bridge repair.
Vermont currently allocates $33 million annually to pave roads and $49 million to repair bridges, the Rutland Herald reported.
Despite the increase in funds, the rising cost of asphalt will limit the state to paving about the same number of miles as it did last summer and fall, the Times Argus reported.
“It’s unfortunate,” Dawn Terrill, the state transportation secretary, told the newspaper. “We strengthened the paving budget by over 20 percent, but we’re only going to be able to maintain the volume of work we had been doing. We’ve ended up losing the opportunity to actually treat more roadway.”
Nearly 115 miles of road in 16 locations throughout the state is scheduled to be finished, down from the 145 miles that was originally planned. An additional 220 miles of road repair is also scheduled.
The bill – H523 – earmarks $13 million to pave sections of Interstates 89 and 91, including a 16-mile stretch of I-89 southbound from Burlington to Bolton, and a 12-mile segment of I-91 northbound between Gilford and Brattleboro.