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Author Topic: News from Montpelier week 7 (2017)  (Read 667 times)
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« on: February 17, 2017, 01:41:18 PM »

The House Transportation committee held two joint meetings with the Senate this week. On Tuesday we were given a presentation by the Agency of Transportation (AOT) on the North Hero-Grand Isle Bridge project. This is the only moveable bridge in Vermont and has had remediation work done to continue its life, but now needs complete replacement. The project when begun is expected to take four years with the use of a temporary bridge for the duration of its closure. The challenge is two-fold; to keep the road traffic flowing at a reasonable pace and to ensure marine transit of the Gut, required by the Coast Guard. On Wednesday the two committees met jointly to listen to municipal officials visiting the State House for Local Government Day. A common refrain from those who spoke was the need for state assistance in meeting the challenge of funding class 2 paving projects and the areas of need identified by the Clean Water Act.
Several transportation issues were presented in the committee during the week. Testimony was given by representatives of the AOT and Department of Energy Conservation (DEC) on the water quality efforts and the permit (TS4) that will direct the same. The Agencies spoke of good collaboration and a belief that the TS4 will make a difference in the most efficient way to address the stormwater impact on water quality. A road bicycle facility plan was presented that identified ten high rate crash sites in the state with plans on how to lower the potential in those specific areas as well as general care for high-use state highways: for example, spring sweeping of shoulders. Rail programs were presented to the committee in regards to the bridge management program, Amtrak services to Burlington and Montreal, and Operation Life Saver, a program that has been looking to bring awareness of the concern for public safety around trains for decades. A group of members from the paving industry testified on the value of having standard specifications and an early start to the State’s paving projects.
The Senate returned the FY17 budget adjustments bill, H125 to the House with a strike all amendment that was presented on the Floor and accepted by the House. Other activity on the Floor included numerous Resolutions honoring individuals as well as events. The one to recognize the Battle of Hubbardton created a bit of controversy by a Whereas clause removed by the Senate because it was seen by some to throw a bit of a shadow over the Battle of Bennington. Also controversial was the Resolution to define the recount rules. Both passed and the work goes on. 
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