Thanks to some additional money secured from the state, an extensive trail network across Northern Vermont is set to be finished much sooner than expected. Without the state aid, the effort would have taken years.
Vermont lawmakers have approved funding to accelerate the completion of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. VTrans owns the trail, but ‘VAST’, the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, rents it from them. ‘VAST’ has been taking on the entire project thus far, which initially started back in the mid-2000’s. The rail trail is set to be completed in the next couple of years.
“As the single user that has contributed the most to the trail itself, which is about $3 Million dollars so far. To have them come in now to finish it with the timeline that they have announced is pretty incredible,” says ‘VAST’ Executive Director, Cindy Locke. She explains, had the state not stepped in, the project would have taken at least another decade to complete.
With about 30 miles complete so far, there’s still much to be done. And with better equipment suited for the job, VTrans will be completing the remaining 60 miles.
Susan Scribner, director of the municipal assistance bureau for the Agency of Transportation, says “Other than a small section in Hardwick that ‘VAST’ still has a grant agreement to complete, VTrans will be completing the entire build-out of the facility, with a goal to have it all completed by early summer of 2022.”
The rail trail will traverse five counties, connecting several other significant trail networks, not only in Vermont, but in Canada as well.
In addition to tourism revenue, Governor Phil Scott, says Vermonters will be cashing in on this project for years to come. “Many contractors will be able to work on this and that in itself will be an economic relief for many during these uncertain times. So there are so many attributes to this, too numerous to mention, and we’ll see the benefits over the years and decades to come. This isn’t just a one year thing, this is multiple decades.”