Vermont lawmakers soon will consider a plan to spend $17.5
million to purchase five new rail cars for use on one of the state's Amtrak
The Joint Transportation Oversight Committee decided last
week to hold off on the rail-car purchase until the House and Senate
transportation panels could discuss the matter as part of a broader discussion
of transportation priorities when the Legislature convenes in January, The Associated Press reported.
Vermont Transportation Secretary Neale Lunderville agreed to
wait until the end of January 2007. However, Lunderville said he doesn't want
to wait too long because the state could lose the promised price or delay their
delivery, The AP reported.
Gov. Jim Douglas, who won re-election last week, wants
lawmakers to authorize the purchase of three self-propelled diesel cars and two
passenger coaches. It's believed the smaller cars would cost the state less
money to run than the traditional Amtrak cars.
Lunderville said it is cost prohibitive to continue
subsidizing the inefficient trains that run between St. Albans and New Haven,
Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Richard Mazza,
D-Colchester, said the issue would be brought up in his committee as soon as
the Legislature convenes Jan. 9, 2007.