The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the state nearly $35 million to promote safer and more effective means of getting around.
The department will provide $34.6 million for three Sustainability and Equity grants. One grant will provide nearly $25 million to build the Winooski River Bridge, which connects Winooski with Burlington.
Vermont Secretary of Transportation Joe Flynn said in a news release that the money “will help to upgrade this critical connection between two major cities and provide much-needed multi-modal transportation infrastructure.”
The remainder will go to projects in Chittenden and Franklin County.
One of those projects is the Federal Street multi-modal connector in St. Albans, which will be awarded over $7.7 million. City Manager Dominic Cloud said this will allow for less traffic.
“When you’ve got that much traffic flowing through the city, it needs to function, it needs to flow smoothly,” he said. “This maximizes all the intersections. It adds two new stoplights at the major intersections, it will add a signal intersection off the interstate.”
According to Cloud, the project has been in the works for decades and has already gone through its first phase to improve several intersections in the city.
The second phase will address improvements on Federal Street, decreasing traffic on Main Street. Despite the Town of St. Albans helping with the cost of the project, Cloud does not know how the price tag will be affected overall with inflation throwing a wrench in a number of their plans.
“We wrote the application with the goal of completing it and matching the federal dollars with the local share of using tax-increment financing to come up with our 20 percent,” he said. “We will have to see how far the money goes.”
Various Vermont politicians have stressed the need for improved public transportation. The latest funding will support a comprehensive plan for transit-oriented development across Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Rutland, and Washington counties, as well as plans for improved bus services and a possible commuter rail in the five-county region.