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Infrastructure for Stronger, Safer Communities

Submitted by matt.stirnweis… on Fri, 11/04/2022 - 11:25
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Roads, Bridges and Public Transportation

Governor Scott has consistently increased investments in our transportation infrastructure, recognizing safe, reliable public infrastructure is one of government’s most important responsibilities. 

Most recently, the FY23 Transportation budget is the largest-ever investment in Vermont’s transportation infrastructure and programs, dedicating $868 million in State and Federal funds – a 15% increase over the previous year. This includes:

  • $158.8 million to pave state highways and interstates, with 64 construction projects and 590 miles of paving, as well as 91 miles of rehabilitation to widen shoulders in support of bicycle and pedestrian access and mobility. 
  • $51.3 million for the roadway program to fund 37 projects to construct and reconstruct intersections and roadway segments.
  • $225 million in new General Fund bridge program investments. Upgrades will include 36 bridges across 38 communities.
  • $44.5 million for public transit, including $1.2 million to provide zero-fare public transit for local transit routes, $1.25 million for microtransit pilot studies for communities across Vermont, and continued work to electrify the transit fleet statewide. 
  • $25.4 million for the bicycle, pedestrian, and transportation alternatives program to implement 47 construction projects and the design of 42 additional projects across 73 Vermont communities.
  • $35.4 million for the rail program to implement projects including the extension of the Amtrak Ethan Allen service from Rutland to Burlington with stops in Middlebury and Vergennes (launching in July) and continued work on a $20 million federal BUILD grant to upgrade rail bridges between Rutland and Hoosick, New York.

 

Water, Sewer and Stormwater Infrastructure

Water and sewer infrastructure varies significantly around the state, creating disparity from town to town on a resource that impacts public health, our environment and economic opportunities. This is why Governor Scott made investments in this infrastructure one of his five areas of focus for Federal recovery aid, proposing and working with the Legislature to secure over $200 million for water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure. This included investments in:

  • Stormwater retrofit projects to manage stormwater runoff.

 

  • Village wastewater facility projects to support rural communities in addressing local drinking and water quality issues.

 

  • Household water and wastewater assistance projects to improve on-site water and wastewater solutions.

 

  • Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) abatement projects in municipalities with the highest incidents of sewer overflows.

 

Connectivity: Broadband & Cell Service

  • Expanding Access to Broadband
    • Governor Scott proposed, and worked with the Legislature to secure, over $350 million in Federal recovery aid (FY22-FY23) to expanding high-speed internet to unserved and underserved areas of the state. This investment is supporting and accelerating the state’s work to achieve universal access to reliable, affordable broadband for households and businesses across the state. 
    • Established, through Act 71 of 2021, the Vermont Community Broadband Board to lead the state’s efforts for universal broadband deployment.
    • Worked with the Legislature to establish Communications Union Districts (CUD) model to improve access to funds and make it easier for small communities to build out their communications infrastructure. The state is now partnering with 9 CUDs, covering 91% of unserved locations across Vermont.
    • Prior to the availability of Federal money, Governor Scott focused the state’s efforts on laying the groundwork for this opportunity. Working with the Legislature in 2019 to pass legislation and funding to improve broadband and connectivity across Vermont, which included:
      • Nearly $1 million to fund connectivity-related grants that support broadband buildout;
      • Half-a-million-dollars to create a partnership with the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) that invests in broadband development in underserved areas;
      • Increased investment in the ThinkVermont Innovation Initiative specifically for technical assistance grants to help Vermont municipalities planning broadband projects; and
      • A new Rural Broadband Technical Assistance Specialist to support broadband development in rural areas.

 

  • Improving Cellular Service
    • The Scott Administration, led by the Public Service Department, has worked to better assess cell service coverage in Vermont by conducting mobile wireless drive tests. The results of these tests help consumers determine what providers have the best service in their area and allow the state to work with providers to expand coverage in areas that need it.
    • NEED SUPPORT FROM THE LEGISLATURE – In 2022, Governor Scott proposed a $51 million plan to expand cell service in unserved areas of the state, using federal recovery aid to help add 100+ towers. The Legislature did not support this initiative.
       
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