View the complete text of Act 38

ACT NO. 38
(H.530)

Transportation Capital Construction Program; Project Development Program

This act is the Transportation Construction Program for fiscal year 1998 and the project development plan for fiscal years 1999-2002. The fiscal year 1998 appropriations total $185,967,943. Of this amount, $113,427,851 are federal funds, $68,686,486 are state transportation funds and $3,853,606 are local funds.

The act provides, in part, for the following:

(1) The sum of $200,000 is appropriated from the transportation fund to the agency oftransportation (AOT) for the non-federal share of the state infrastructure bank pilot program under the National Highway System Designation Act.

(2) The sum of $800,000 is appropriated from the transportation fund for the purchase of Amtrak service for both the Vermonter and the Ethan Allen Express through March 31, 1998.

(3) Vermont Life Magazine, in cooperation with AOT, the Department of Tourism and Marketing and Amtrak, is directed to provide, at cost, specially bound copies of Vermont Life Magazine as an on-board magazine for free distribution on the Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express. Vermont Life is directed to pursue additional advertisers to generate revenues to offset future publication costs for the on-board edition. A joint performance report is to be issued by AOT and the Department of Tourism and Marketing to the General Assembly by April 1, 1998.

(4) The sum of $3,400,000 of state and federal funds is appropriated for the advancement of the Charlotte-Burlington railroad project.

(5) The AOT is directed to develop alternative methods for implementing improvements to existing park-and-ride lots and for developing new lots.

(6) The AOT 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 impact on enforcement of speed limits, weight limits and other motor vehicle laws. The AOT is to report to the House and Senate Committees on Transportation by December 15, 1997.

(7) The AOT is directed to develop a program to support improvements to town highways by: identifying candidates for improvement through the regional transportation process; scoping projects by emphasizing rehabilitation and preservation of highways; assigning management of project design and implementation to the involved municipalities with technical assistance from AOT; and developing a program of financial assistance for maintenance and repair of town highway bridges on the existing two-for-one program for town highways.

(8) The AOT, in collaboration with the public transit providers, is directed to establish standards and procedures for contract agreements and payments, including clear time-lines for state payments.

(9) A study committee is created consisting of: the president of the Vermont Aviation Council, or a designee; a representative of the primary fixed-base operators on the state airport system; the Secretary of Transportation, or a designee; the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development, or a designee; the Chairs of the Senate and House Committees on Transportation, or designees; a representative from the business and tourism industries. The committee is directed to analyze the draft interim Vermont air policy plan being prepared by AOT and recommend a course of action for the future of the state airport system. The committee is required to present an interim report of its findings to the General Assembly by January 15, 1998,and a final report by January 1, 1999.

(10) In FY 1999, the maximum amount of transportation funds that may be appropriated for the support of government, other than for the AOT, 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 AOT, 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.

(11) 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.

(12) The sum of $100,000 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 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 Senate and House Committees on Transportation by January 15, 1998.

(13) The AOT, following the procedures set forth in the Administrative Procedure Act, 3 V.S.A. Chapter 25, is directed to 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.

(14) A joint motor vehicle steering committee is created which is composed of the Chairs of the Senate and House Committees on Transportation and two members each from the Senate and House Committees on Transportation. The committee is directed to identify, study and evaluate customer service enhancement plans and opportunities for the department of motor vehicles.

(15) For FY 1998, the commissioner of the department of buildings and general services is directed to:

(A) commence to take the necessary steps to pipe the sewage from the Georgia and Fairfax rest areas on Interstate 89 to the sewage treatment facility in St. Albans; and

(B) 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.

The commissioner 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. The commissioner is further 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.

. (16) The AOT, during FY 1998, is directed to implement a pilot project to demonstrate use of radar speed indicators to warn drivers approaching construction work zones to comply with reduced speed limits and to implement a pilot project to demonstrate the use of electronic regulatory signs that can be turned off whenever a truck weighing station is not in service or, when the weighing station is in service, as soon as the weighing station is about to reach its capacity to accommodate trucks waiting to be weighed or inspected.

Effective Date: Those sections of the act containing an appropriation take effect on July 1, 1997. The remaining sections of this act take effect from passage, May 28, 1997.