VT Transportation Bill Makes History

By Christine Souders | csouders@nexstar.tv

Published 06/02 2014 05:14PM

Updated 06/02 2014 06:19PM

MORRISVILLE, Vt. - Governor Peter Shumlin approved the state's largest transportation bill in Vermont history on Monday.

About 100 projects are underway, or soon to be through this nearly $700 million dollars

Some of it will go to paving about 375 miles of road, $108 million to town highway programs, and $140 million to replace more than 100 bridges, like the Morrisville Alternative Truck Route.

Long-time Morrisville Resident Diane Mandigo lives along the main route used by many tractor trailer trucks.

"I've seen them take the poles, that pole up there many times because they just can't go around this corner," said Diane Mandigo as she pointed to the busy street.

The trucks often hold up traffic, and cause a lot of noise, and Mandigo said she can't wait for the new bridge to open this fall, "I think it's time that the taxpayers' money stays in Vermont."

However, not everyone is buying into what's being called the "largest transportation bill in Vermont's history."

Susan Dithridge said, "The roads here in Vermont, I consider to be superior. I come from New York where roads are not kept up the way they should be."

The signing of this transportation bill means there's going to be a lot more construction, road closures, and detours, but also more jobs.

"We're talking about thousands of people employed in the construction industry, during the height of the construction season," said Brian Searles, Secretary of Transportation.

"What this transportation bill represents is jobs, and economic opportunities, better quality of life for Vermonters," said Governor Peter Shumlin.

Railroads, public transit, airports, and biking and pedestrian pathways are also a part of this, to help drive down our carbon footprint.

The budget also includes more than $19 million for aviation.

An $8 million dollar boost from last year.

The Morristown Airport is getting some of the money.

It serves mostly private, or corporate plans.

The runway was 30 years old.

The whole thing is being replaced, with new foundation and pavement, along with a new LED lighting system.

"It's nice that the state is supporting their local airports because these little airports are actually a huge boom to the local economy,"said David Whitcomb, Airport General Manager.

The airport is expected to re-open by the end of July.

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