NO. R-185.  JOINT RESOLUTION in support of construction of segments A-B of the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway.

(J.R.H.19)

Offered by:  Committee on Transportation.

Whereas, the Chittenden County circumferential highway (Vermont Route 289) is a 15.8-mile-long limited-access highway designed to intercept and redistribute traffic on major arterial routes serving the Burlington region from the north and east, and

Whereas, In Sec. 5(a) of Act No. 183 of the Acts of 1982, the General Assembly endorsed the project now known as the Chittenden County circumferential highway, and

Whereas, on October 5, 1982, the towns of Colchester, Essex Town, and Williston and the village of Essex Junction voted to create a union municipal district to assist with planning and construction of the highway, and

Whereas, in the federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, Congress authorized a $50 million demonstration grant to support the highway’s construction, and

Whereas, in Sec. 4 of Act No. M-5 of the Acts of 1983, the General Assembly authorized acceptance of the demonstration grant by the Vermont agency of transportation, and

Whereas, in Act No. 185 of the Acts of the 1985 Adj. Sess. (1986), the General Assembly authorized inclusion of the Chittenden County circumferential highway in the state highway system, and

Whereas, in August 1986, the agency of transportation, in collaboration with the Federal Highway Administration, pursuant to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), published a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) analyzing the highway’s environmental impacts, and

Whereas, in December 1988, the District #4 Environmental Commission, pursuant to 10 V.S.A. chapter 151 (Act 250) issued a master land use permit for the highway, and

Whereas, in 1993, the agency of transportation completed construction of segments C-F (from Vermont Route 117 in Essex to Vermont Route 2A in Essex) as well as related improvements to Susie Wilson Road in the town of Essex, and

Whereas, in the early 1990s, the agency of transportation also completed acquisition of rights-of-way for segments A-B (from 1-89 in Williston to Vermont Route 117 in Essex) and segments G-H (from Vermont Route 2A in Essex to 1-89 in Colchester), and

Whereas, in Sec. 1 of Act No. 64 of the Acts of 2001, the General Assembly approved inclusion in the state’s transportation capital program funding for segments A-B, and

Whereas, in Sec. 1 of Act No. 141 of the Acts of the 2001 Adj. Sess. (2002), the General Assembly again approved inclusion in the state’s transportation capital program of construction funding for Segments A-B, and

Whereas, the Chittenden County regional plan, the municipal plans of the affected municipalities, and the Chittenden County metropolitan planning organization continue to recognize the need for the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway, and

Whereas, the highway will improve access to major employment centers and otherwise support economic development in northwestern Vermont, and

Whereas, the need for segments A-B of the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway is particularly acute because they will improve access to Vermont’s largest employer from Interstate 89, and

Whereas, the highway will remove traffic from local roadways, improving the quality of life for residents in the towns of Williston, Essex, and Colchester and the village of Essex Junction, who have endured ever-increasing amounts of commuter and commercial traffic passing through their neighborhoods, and

Whereas, in addition to the FEIS and the Act 250 master permit, the agency of transportation has obtained and kept up-to-date other environmental permits and approvals, including Act 250 construction permits, stormwater discharge permits, a water quality certificate, a threatened and endangered species permit, an Army Corps of Engineers permit, and an environmental assessment (EA), evaluating potential changes in relevant circumstances since completion of the FEIS, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly reiterates its support of construction of

 

segments A-B of the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send copies of this resolution to the members of Vermont’s Congressional Delegation, Christine Todd Whitman, Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Mary E. Peters, Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, Patricia A. McDonald, Vermont Secretary of Transportation, Elizabeth A. McLain, Vermont Secretary of Natural Resources, the selectboards of the towns of Williston, Essex, and Colchester, and the trustees of the village of Essex Junction.