Governor Phil Scott Signs 2019 Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicle Bills
Bethel, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today signed the 2019 transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles bills to invest more than $615 million in Vermont’s transportation system and promote innovative, equitable transportation policies.
“The investments in this legislation will continue to improve our state’s infrastructure while making transportation safer and easier for all Vermonters,” said Governor Scott. “I want to thank the House and Senate Transportation Committees and my team at the Agency of Transportation for their work on this legislation.”
Governor Scott signed both bills (H.529, An act relating to the transportation program and miscellaneous changes to laws related to transportation, and S.149, An act relating to miscellaneous changes to laws related to vehicles and the Department of Motor Vehicles) during a public ceremony at the site of the Bethel bridge project on Route 12, just south of Randolph. The existing bridge, built in 1928 and severely eroded during Tropical Storm Irene, will be replaced by a longer bridge, set for completion in October 2020.
“This year’s transportation bill continues our commitment to maintaining the state’s transportation system assets, providing safe highways for the traveling public and making investments in efficient transportation options for those traveling in the state by electric vehicle, bus, train, walking or biking,” said Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn. “Additionally, we will continue to improve customer service at our DMV offices statewide through modernization efforts such as our new driver’s license and enhanced translation services.”
For the third consecutive year, the Agency of Transportation presented the Legislature with a fiscally responsible budget that does not rely on any new tax or fee increases while allocating $373 million for highway infrastructure investments, including:
- Nearly $100 million in bridge investments, including 41 projects under construction and 52 projects under development;
- More than $100 million for paving;
- Nearly $50 million in roadway investments for projects, including the Champlain Parkway in Burlington, Main Street in Waterbury, the Crescent Connector in Essex Junction and continuation of key projects on Route 7 in Brandon and Pittsford; and
- $20 million in traffic and safety investments for a new roundabout in Burlington, the Exit 16 diverging diamond interchange in Colchester and numerous highway safety programs.
The budget also contains $93 million for public transit, aviation, bike-ped, Park & Ride and rail, including funding to extend Amtrak service to downtown Burlington.
The signed bill includes investments intended to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel use and Vermonters’ household transportation costs to meet the goals of the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan and the State’s commitment, as part of the U.S. Climate Alliance, to the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.
In addition, Governor Scott signed S.149, which includes the following customer service enhancements for Vermonters interacting with the DMV:
- Allows the commissioner to waive the knowledge test for qualified military personnel on the passenger, tank vehicle and hazardous materials endorsements for commercial driver’s licenses, making it easier to recruit CDL drivers;
- Streamlines the licensing process for new Vermonters, allowing the commissioner to accept licenses from other jurisdictions with similar examination requirements to Vermont; and
- Directs the DMV to translate applications, forms and exams into the primary language of any applicant and allow the use of a translator on the road exam for licenses.
This bill also includes initiatives to make Vermont more appealing as a location for research and development of autonomous vehicles, creating an opportunity for economic development in this area.
Governor Scott was joined at the signing by members of the Senate and House Transportation Committees, including Senator Dick Mazza (D-Grand Isle) and Representative Becca White (D-Windsor), who both spoke on behalf of their committees.