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NO. 38. AN ACT RELATING TO THE STATE’S TRANSPORTATION CAPITAL PROGRAM AND PROJECT DEVELOPMENT PLAN.

(H.530)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. TRANSPORTATION CAPITAL PROGRAM FOR 1998; PROJECT

DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR 1999-2002

(a) The transportation capital program for fiscal year 1998 and project development plan for fiscal years 1999-2002, appended to the agency of transportation's proposed fiscal year 1998 budget, as amended by this act, are adopted to the extent federal, state and local funds are available. The transportation capital program and project development plan hereby adopted supersede all previous transportation capital programs and project development plans.

(b) The following additions, deletions or modifications are made:

(1) The sum of $50,000.00 is appropriated from the transportation fund to the department of buildings and general services for construction of an approximately 780 square foot addition to the Rutland office of the department of motor vehicles.

(2) The sum of $37,000.00 is appropriated from the transportation fund to the department of buildings and general services for the renovation of approximately 1,200 square feet of basement space at the Dummerston office of the agency of transportation’s district #2 for the purpose of improving public accommodations at a site used by the department of motor vehicles’ mobile van. This shall establish the option of either providing expanded hours of operation or a full-time branch office, not later than September 1, 1999.

(3) The sum of $200,000.00 is appropriated from the transportation fund to the agency of transportation to be used for the non-federal share of a state infrastructure bank (SIB) pilot program under the National Highway System Designation Act, Pub. L. No. 104-59, 109 Stat. 568, 618-622, 350, as amended. The agency of transportation is authorized to accept federal aid that may become available to the state of Vermont under the SIB program and to collaborate with the agency of commerce and community development and the Vermont economic development authority to take such action asmay be necessary to secure to the state the aid and benefits provided by participation in the SIB pilot program.

(4) The agency of transportation shall offer the city of Rutland the opportunity to assume management of the Rutland City STPG MG 3000(14) project (circulation analysis and installation of new traffic signals on U.S. 4/Woodstock Avenue and U.S. 7/North and South Main Streets).

(5) The agency of transportation shall consider the placement of traffic signalization at the intersection of State Street, Peirpoint Avenue and Columbian Avenue in Rutland City. The agency shall submit a report of its analysis and recommendations to the House and Senate Transportation Committees, that shall include the costs, feasibility and alternatives by December 31, 1997.

(6) The schedule for the Morristown F 029-1(2) (VT 100 relocation; bypass of Morrisville village) project shall be amended to show commencement of construction during fiscal year 2002. The agency is directed to consider innovative project development techniques, including design/build, to achieve this revised schedule.

(7) The figures for budget year fiscal year 1998 for the statewide project that provides for public transit operating assistance are amended as follows: by striking the figures $4,359,204 where they twice appear and by inserting in lieu thereof the figure $4,684,204 and by striking the figure $1,177,704 and by inserting in lieu thereof the figure $1,502,704.

(8) The figures for budget year fiscal year 1998 for the railroad project Bellows Falls-Rutland, project no. 04-9039 are amended as follows: by striking the figure $150,000 where it appears three times and inserting in lieu thereof the figure $688,295 and by striking the description of the project and inserting in lieu thereof the following description: Track and roadbed improvements to the Green Mountain Railroad to include: crosstie installation, ballast tamp and surface, bridge deck replacement for bridge #146 in East Wallingford, drainage improvements and rail anchor installation.

(9) The figures for budget year fiscal year 1998 for the railroad project Bennington-Rutland-Burlington are amended as follows: by striking the figure $150,000 where itappears three times and inserting in lieu thereof the figure $660,000 and by striking the description of the project and inserting in lieu thereof the following description: Track and roadbed improvements on the Vermont Railway to include: tin can in Rutland, Park Street in Rutland, South main yard board in Rutland, the Rutland yard double switching tracks, and main line upgrades between Rutland and North Bennington.

(10) The figures for budget year fiscal year 1998 for the railroad project relating to the purchase of Amtrak service for the Vermonter and the Ethan Allen Express are amended as follows: by striking the figure $1,000,000 where it appears three times and inserting in lieu thereof the figure $800,000.

(11) By striking the funding for FY 1998 for railroad project Bennington-Hoosick, New York, project number CM Rail (3).

(12) The figures for budget year FY 1998 for the railroad project Charlotte-Burlington are amended as follows: by striking the figure $4,459,585 where it twice appears and by striking the figure $891,917 and the figure $3,567,668 and by inserting in lieu thereof the following replacement figures: $3,400,000 as it twice shall appear, $680,000 and $2,720,000.

(13) A new project is added to consist of interim safety improvements along the Cavendish-Ludlow segment of VT 103, pending eventual reconstruction under highway project Cavendish-Ludlow NH F 025-1(30). The new project is authorized for preliminary engineering, and right-of-way acquisition during FY year 1998 in the amount of $90,000, of which the state portion is $18,000 and the federal portion is $72,000.

(14) Transportation project Brighton (Island Pond Village) STP Bike (14)S (pedestrian bridge over St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad in Island Pond Village) is added to the development and evaluation portion of the bicycle and pedestrian program.

(15) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, for fiscal year 1997, $1,488,300.00 is appropriated from the transportation fund to the agency of transportation for the Milton transportation improvement project. The Milton project funds shall be used:

(A) to design a bridge over Arrowhead Mt. Lake; and

(B) to make necessary improvements to North Road.

* * * Park-and-Ride Lots * * *

Sec. 2. PARK-AND-RIDE LOTS

The agency shall develop alternative methods for implementing improvements to existing park-and-ride lots and for developing new park-and-ride lots. These methods shall emphasize efficiency in development, time schedules, and cost effectiveness. The agency shall incorporate alternative methods of developing park-and-ride lots in its proposed transportation capital program for fiscal year 1998. The agency of transportation shall exert a concerted effort to use district maintenance forces to complete park-and-ride improvements by December 1, 1997.

* * * Advancement and Substitution of Projects * * *

Sec. 3. ADVANCEMENT OR CANCELLATION OF PROJECTS

Should capital projects in the program for the current fiscal year be delayed for any reason, the secretary of transportation is authorized to advance other projects in the same year or subsequent years. No project shall be decertified or canceled without the approval of the general assembly.

Sec. 4. ADDITIONAL FEDERAL FUNDS

To enable the state of Vermont to take advantage of additional federal funds that may be made available, the secretary of transportation is authorized to accelerate projects in the state's transportation capital program and project development plan. The secretary of transportation shall report quarterly to the members of the joint transportation oversight committee and members of the House and Senate committees on transportation on any changes in the scheduling of the projects in the transportation capital program or project development plan and shall additionally submit the report required in 19 V.S.A. 10h, relating to cost overruns.

* * * State Highway System -- Additions and Deletions * * *

Sec. 5. ADDITIONS AND DELETIONS TO STATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM

(a) Pursuant to 19 V.S.A 15(2), approval is granted for the secretary of transportation to enter into an agreement with the town of Brattleboro to relinquish to the town’s jurisdiction, additional areas of the Vermont Route 9 right-of-way now used for embankments and a stone-lined ditch serving Stark’s Road (Town Highway #48), as reconstructed and relocated by highway project Brattleboro HES 010-1(30).

(b) Pursuant to 19 V.S.A. 15(2), approval is granted for the secretary of transportation to enter into an agreement with the town of Colchester to relinquish to thetown’s jurisdiction, the additional U.S. Route 7 right-of-way acquired to construct a turning lane from Blakely Road (Town Highway #9) to U.S. Route 7 as part of highway project Colchester RS 0285(5)S.

(c) Manual on uniform traffic control devices. The agency of transportation is directed to study the impact of the Federal Highway Administration’s "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" (MUTCD) on the state of Vermont, including the following: (1) references to the MUTCD in Vermont statutes; (2) the extent to which MUTCD compliance is required as a condition of receiving federal aid highway funds; (3) interpretation of the MUTCD by federal, state and local authorities; (4) the impact of the MUTCD on enforcement of speed limits, weight limits and other motor vehicle laws, regulations and ordinances; and (5) the impact of the MUTCD on the tort liability exposure of the state and municipalities. The agency of transportation shall report its findings, including any recommendations for changes in state law, to the house and senate committees on transportation by December 15, 1997.

(d) Traffic light at Middle Road. Because of extraordinary safety concerns and the necessity of complying with permit requirements in a timely manner, notwithstanding 23 V.S.A. 1025, the agency of transportation is directed to permit the installation of a traffic light at the intersection of US 7 and Middle Road to accommodate the new Middlebury Union Junior High School.

* * * Town Highways * * *

Sec. 6. IMPROVEMENT TO TOWN HIGHWAYS AND BRIDGES

(a) The agency shall develop a program to support improvements to town highways. The program shall be guided by the following principles:

(1) Candidates for improvement should be identified through the regional transportation planning process, in consultation with the agency of transportation;

(2) Project scope should be developed through a scoping process, should emphasize rehabilitation and preservation, and should be appropriate to the highway’s functional class;

(3) Project design and implementation should be managed by the involved municipalities, with technical assistance from the agency of transportation; and

(4) Project funding should draw upon federal, state and local sources.

(b) The agency shall also develop a program of financial assistance for maintenance and repair of town highway bridges that shall be modeled on the existing two-for-onepaving program for town highways.

Sec. 6a. 19 V.S.A. 309a(b)(5) is amended to read:

(b) This section shall not apply to:

* * *

(5) any bridge or roadway project involving a *[bridge on a municipal highway]* local financial share in which the municipality, after its review of the conceptual project plans, chooses not to proceed with the proposed project; in such circumstances, the agency shall pay 100 percent of the project costs incurred through the date it receives such notification from the municipality; or

Sec. 6b. US 4 RECONSTRUCTION

Notwithstanding 19 V.S.A. 309a, should the town of Woodstock decide and notify the agency of transportation by July 1, 1997, not to proceed with the project to reconstruct the segment of US 4 that is a class 1 town highway, the agency of transportation shall pay 100 percent of the project costs incurred through the date it receives such notification from the town.

Sec. 6c. 19 V.S.A. 2(f) is added to read:

(f) There shall be a section within the agency dedicated to assisting municipalities and regions in the development and implementation of locally managed transportation projects.

* * * Railroads * * *

Sec. 7. APPROVAL OF TRANSACTIONS REGARDING STATE-OWNED

RAILROAD PROPERTY

Upon receiving satisfactory evidence of release of the leasehold interest of the Washington County Railroad Corp., the secretary of transportation, as agent for the state, is authorized to convey to the Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation, in consideration of $38,000.00, the former Montpelier & Wells River Railroad freight house in the city of Montpelier, part of the land and premises acquired by the state of Vermont by November 12, 1980 condemnation order, which order is recorded in the city of Montpelier land records at book 169, pages 15-77, having been received for record on November 21, 1980. Title to the land underneath the freight house shall continue to be vested in the state of Vermont, with the grantee’s occupancy and use continuing to be governed by applicable lease agreements.

Sec. 8. Sec. 7a(b) of Act No. 183 of the Acts of 1996 is amended to read:

(b) For the purposes of subsection (a) of this section, the agency may add a newproject to the transportation capital program for fiscal year *[1997]* 1998. The agency is directed to seek the greatest possible participation of federal funds in this project.

Sec. 9. AMTRAK PASSENGER TRAIN SERVICE BETWEEN VERMONT AND

MONTREAL

The general assembly directs the agency of transportation to work with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) and other interested parties to investigate the feasibility of resuming Amtrak passenger train service between Vermont and the city of Montreal.

Sec. 10. VERMONT LIFE MAGAZINE; AMTRAK

Vermont Life Magazine, in cooperation with both the Agency of Transportation, Department of Tourism and Marketing and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) shall provide, at cost, specially bound copies of Vermont Life Magazine as an on-board magazine for free distribution on both the Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express passenger trains of the magazine, overprinted from the regular press run of Vermont Life in the quantities needed, and which shall bear a special outer cover promoting rail ridership. Vermont Life shall pursue additional advertisers to generate revenues to offset future publication costs for the on-rail addition. A joint performance report shall be issued by the agency of transportation and the department of tourism and marketing to the general assembly by April 1, 1998. Eight thousand dollars of the budget for the department of tourism and marketing shall be allocated for the purpose of implementing the provisions of this section. The provisions of this section shall sunset on June 30, 1998.

* * * Public Transportation * * *

Sec. 11. TOLL FREE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES INFORMATION;

REGIONAL PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FORUMS

(a) The agency of transportation and the department of tourism and marketing, in cooperation with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), the Vermont Transit Corporation and regional and local providers of transit services in Vermont shall investigate the establishment of a public transit database that shall be made available to the customer service representatives at the 1-800 Vermont telephone information line that is operated by the department of tourism and marketing. The database shall also be placed on the state of Vermont’s Internet home page. The goal of this new source of transportation data is to offer travelers information for seamless travel in or out of Vermont utilizing all forms of available transportation. The agency of transportation and the department of tourism and marketing shall also investigate the possibility of directlyselling tickets, for any or all of these modes of transportation, either by the customer service representatives or through the Internet home page. Financial contributions to support the enhanced information service shall be sought from the transportation providers.

(b) The agency of transportation, in cooperation with the regional planning commissions and public and private public transportation entities that serve Vermont, shall conduct a series of regional transportation forums around the state to better coordinate the scheduling and utilization of transportation facilities. Specific attention shall be directed towards providing improved local transit services to and from rail stations and the optimum utilization of shuttle vehicles for tourist and commuter services. The forums shall examine the potential for public-private sector co-promotional partnerships that can generate revenues for the provision of these transportation services.

Sec. 12. PAYMENTS TO NONPROFIT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SERVICES

The agency, in collaboration with the public transit providers, shall establish standards and procedures for contract agreements and payment. Such standards shall include clear time lines for payments.

* * * Airports * * *

Sec. 13. APPROVAL OF CERTAIN TRANSACTIONS INVOLVING STATE-

OWNED AIRPORTS

The secretary of transportation, as agent for the state, is authorized to convey to the Vermont Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, in consideration of $1.00, a house on the grounds of the Hartness State Airport, part of the land and premises conveyed to the state of Vermont by October 22, 1969 warranty deed of the Town of Springfield, which deed is recorded in the Springfield land records at book 63, page 203, having been received for record on October 22, 1969. This conveyance is subject to the condition that the building shall be continued to be used for airport purposes and, further, that title to the land underneath the house shall continue to be vested in the state of Vermont, with the grantee’s occupancy and use governed by applicable lease agreements.

Sec. 14. RUTLAND STATE AIRPORT; AIRPORT LAYOUT PLAN UPDATE

(a) Should sufficient additional federal funds become available, the secretary of transportation is authorized to add to the state’s transportation capital program for 1998 a project to update the airport layout plan at the Rutland State Airport, to update the facility needs for the next 20 years, and to perform an environmental study of the airport and the adjoining properties for future development.

(b) Should sufficient additional federal funds become available, the secretary of transportation is authorized to advance the project to improve instrument approaches to the Rutland State Airport.

Sec. 14a. STUDY COMMITTEE; STATE AIRPORT SYSTEM

A study committee is created consisting of the following members:

(1) the president of the Vermont aviation advisory council or a designee;

(2) a representative of the primary fixed-base operators (FBOs) on the state airport system, to be designated by the secretary of transportation;

(3) the secretary of transportation or a designee;

(4) the secretary of commerce and community development or a designee;

(5) the chair of the Senate committee on transportation or a designee;

(6) the chair of the House committee on transportation or a designee; and

(7) one representative each from the business and tourism communities having an interest in the state's air transportation services, to be designated by the secretary of commerce and community development.

The committee shall analyze the draft interim Vermont air policy plan being prepared by the agency of transportation and recommend a course of action for the future of the state airport system with particular emphasis on its effect on the state's economy. The agency of transportation shall provide staffing for the committee. The legislative members of the committee shall be entitled to compensation and reimbursement of expenses as provided by 2 V. S.A. 406. The committee shall not meet more than six times and shall report its initial findings to the General Assembly by January 15, 1998, and present a final report by January 1, 1999, after completion of the air policy plan.

Sec. 14b. 5 V. S.A. 205(j) is added to read:

(j) The agency may contract with the private sector, through the competitive procurement process, for some or all maintenance at state airports.

* * * Project Manager System * * *

Sec. 15. IMPLEMENTATION OF PROJECT MANAGER SYSTEM

To implement the project manager system established by 19 V.S.A. 10g(f), as added by Sec. 17 of Act No. 183 of 1996, the secretary of transportation, notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. 706, is authorized to transfer balances of personal services and operations appropriations during FY 1998 made under any appropriation act for the support of the agency of transportation from one component of the agency to any other component of the agency.

* * * Bicycle Routes; Authority to Accept Gifts * * *

Sec. 16. 19 V.S.A. 2305 is amended to read:

2305. AGENCY POWERS AND DUTIES

The agency:

(1) may acquire, in accordance with the procedures of 19 V.S.A. chapter 5 or by gift, any real property or interest in real property that shall be necessary or appropriate for the development of bicycle routes;

(2) shall assist and cooperate with regional planning commissions, municipal governments, other state agencies and citizens’ groups in the development and construction of local and regional bicycle projects and in the application for any funds available for these projects.

Sec. 17. FRANKLIN COUNTY REST AREAS

The administration is directed not to raze the north and southbound rest areas on Interstate 89 in Franklin County during fiscal year 1998.

Sec. 18. TRANSPORTATION FUND APPROPRIATIONS

In fiscal year 1999, the maximum amount of transportation funds that may be appropriated for the support of government, other than for the Agency of Transportation, transportation pay act funds, the cost of maintaining and staffing interstate rest areas, and transportation debt service, shall not exceed 25% of the total of the prior fiscal year transportation fund appropriations. In fiscal year 2000 and thereafter, the maximum amount of transportation funds that may be appropriated for the support of government, other than for the Agency of Transportation, transportation pay act funds, the cost of maintaining and staffing interstate rest areas, and transportation debt service, shall not exceed 24.5% of the total of the prior fiscal year transportation fund appropriations.

Sec. 19. FISH AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT FUNDING

For FY 1999, the department of fish and wildlife and the agency of administration shall determine additional sources of funding for the fish and wildlife department and report their recommendations to the general assembly by January 1, 1998.

* * * Adjustment of Tri-Town Water District Facilities * * *

Sec. 19a. TRI-TOWN WATER DISTRICT

The agency of transportation as part of highway project Addison F017-1(3) (VT 22A reconstruction), shall pay 90 percent of the cost of relocating water lines owned by the Tri-Town Water District that occupy the existing highway right-of-way that are required to be adjusted to accommodate reconstruction of VT 22A and that will be relocated within the right-of-way of the reconstructed VT 22A, subject to agreement by the Tri-Town Water District to pay a 10 percent local share. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the agency of transportation shall not participate in payment of any betterment costs associated with the relocation of the water lines.

* * * Relocation of AOT District #5 Maintenance Facility * * *

Sec. 19b. RELOCATION OF DISTRICT #5 MAINTENANCE FACILITY

The sum of $100,000.00 is appropriated from the transportation fund to the department of buildings and general services to be used to secure the services of a qualified consultant to assist in the development of site evaluations and conceptual plans needed for securing options and necessary permits for one or more sites for relocation of the agency of transportation district #5 maintenance facility now located at Fort Ethan Allen. The criteria for identifying an appropriate site or sites shall include the need to minimize time lost while equipment and employees move to and return from work sites throughout the district. The department of buildings and general services shall take steps toward securing the appropriate option for a site or sites, and report the results to the House and Senate committees on transportation by January 15, 1998.

* * * Vermont Design Standards; Rulemaking * * *

Sec. 19c. VERMONT DESIGN STANDARDS; RULEMAKING

The agency of transportation, following the procedures set forth in the Administrative Procedure Act, 3 V.S.A. chapter 25, shall proceed with adoption of the proposed "Vermont State Standards for the Design of Transportation Construction, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation on Freeways, Roads and Streets" as formal agency rules.

* * * Joint Motor Vehicle Steering Committee * * *

Sec. 19d. JOINT MOTOR VEHICLE STEERING COMMITTEE

(a) There is created a joint motor vehicle steering committee composed of the chairs of the Senate and House committees on transportation, and two members each from the Senate and House committees on transportation.

(b) The committee shall have authority to meet not more than six timesduring adjournment and for official duties members shall be entitled to compensation and reimbursement pursuant to 2 V.S.A. 406. The committee shall have the assistance of the staff of the legislative council and the joint fiscal office.

(c) The committee shall identify, study and evaluate customer service enhancement plans and opportunities for the department of motor vehicles. The committee may recommend legislative initiatives to implement its recommendations.

(d) The committee shall work in conjunction with the department of motor vehicles’ strategic planning group consisting of the commissioner of motor vehicles, the directors of operations, support services, hearing, and enforcement and safety, and designated staff.

Sec. 19e. INTERSTATE 89 INFORMATION CENTERS; REST AREAS AND WELCOME CENTERS

(a) For fiscal year 1998, the commissioner of the department of buildings and general services is directed to:

(1) commence to take the necessary steps to pipe the sewage from the Georgia and Fairfax rest areas to the sewage treatment facility in St. Albans; and

(2) prior to reopening the Georgia rest area, have an agreement with the local chamber of commerce to help staff the Georgia and Fairfax facilities. The commissioner shall report to the chairs of the Senate and House committees on transportation by January 15, 1998, on this project.

(b) The commissioner of the department of buildings and general services is authorized to enter into agreements with local information service providers which would allow those providers to offer local and regional tourist information under guidelines established by the commissioner.

(c) The commissioner of the department of buildings and general services is authorized to enter into agreements with, and grant funds to, local or regional chambers of commerce, or both, to provide staffing and operations of state-owned welcome centers, rest areas and information centers under guidelines established and enforced by the commissioner.

* * * Intelligent Traffic Signs; Pilot Projects * * *

Sec. 19f. INTELLIGENT TRAFFIC SYSTEM TECHNOLOGY

(a) The agency of transportation, during fiscal year 1998, shall implement a pilot project to demonstrate use of radar speed indicators to warn driversapproaching construction work zones to comply with reduced speed limits.

(b) The agency of transportation during fiscal year 1998 shall implement a pilot project to demonstrate use of electronic regulatory signs that can be turned off whenever the weigh station is not in service or, when the weigh station is in service, as soon as the weigh station is about to reach its capacity to accommodate trucks waiting to be weighed or inspected. The pilot project shall be implemented at the state’s busiest weigh and inspection site.

* * * Effective Date * * *

Sec. 20. EFFECTIVE DATE

(a) Sec. 1 (b)(1), (2) and (3) shall take effect on July 1, 1997.

(b) The remaining sections shall take effect from passage.

Approved: May 28, 1997