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ACT NO. 156

(H.853)

Transportation Capital Program; Project Development Program

This act is the Transportation Capital Program for fiscal year 2001 and the project development plan for fiscal years 2002-2005. The fiscal year 2001 appropriations total $276,480,408.00. Of this amount, $180,626,888.00 are federal funds, $90,666,087.00 are state transportation funds and $5,187,433.00 are local funds.

The act provides, in part, for the following:

(1) The Secretary has been authorized to advance other projects in the event that delays occur in scheduled projects. Decertification or cancellation of projects is prohibited without the approval of the General Assembly.

(2) The Secretary is authorized to accelerate projects approved by the General Assembly to take advantage of additional federal funds. The Secretary is also directed to 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 project scheduling and cost overruns.

(3) The Joint Fiscal Office is directed to review the current statutes and administrative processes regarding the transportation project approval process. The review shall examine the secretary’s powers for accelerating projects. The Joint Fiscal Office shall report its findings and recommendations for legislative action to the House and Senate Committees on Transportation no later than January 15, 2001.

(4) The sum of $40,000 is appropriated to the Agency of Transportation (AOT) for the purpose of producing a rail capital investment policy plan which shall be submitted to the House and Senate Committees on Transportation by January 15, 2001.

(5) The General Assembly approves the September 30, 1999 operating agreement between the state of Vermont, AOT and Washington County Railroad Company for lease and operation of the state-owned railroad line between Montpelier Junction and Graniteville.

(6) The AOT is directed to evaluate the feasibility of funding options for a proposed relocation of the Burlington railroad yard. The AOT is to report its findings to the House and Senate Committees on Transportation no later than January 15, 2001.

(7) The AOT should, wherever feasible, acquire control of access along those segments of the U.S. Route 7 corridor between Dorset and South Burlington that are not already limited access facilities.

(8) In considering a proposal for an intermodal or multimodal transportation facility, the AOT shall take into account the size of the community, the location of the proposed facility, the presence of a logical combination of transportation modes and nine statutorily specific criteria. State funds are not to be expended on intermodal or multimodal projects until they enter the construction phase.

(9) The Secretary shall develop a policy plan that addresses transferring ownership of each environmental mitigation site administered by the AOT to the appropriate state agency, municipality, or other entity.

(10) The Secretary shall create a public transit advisory council which shall meet no less than six times a year and serve as an advisory group to the agency of transportation on all matters relating to public transportation. The council shall report on its activities to the House and Senate committees on transportation on or before January 15 of each year.

(11) The public transit advisory council shall evaluate at least annually, the existing public transit services addressing the criteria set forth in the public transit policy plan of January 15, 2000.

(12) The sum of $18,000 is appropriated to the AOT for a commuter fringe benefit demonstration study. The study should ascertain the viability of the concept of a commuter fringe benefit, and whether incentives to employees can increase parking spaces in downtown Montpelier and the capitol complex development. The agency shall make recommendations and report back to the House and Senate Committees on Transportation by January 15, 2001.

(13) The Secretary shall contact the commissioner of the New York state department of transportation to determine the New York plans for upgrading U.S. Route 4 and file a report with the House and Senate committees on transportation by January 15, 2001.

(14) The AOT is directed to develop a report incorporating past and current studies for the movement of freight by rail and commercial motor vehicles along an east-west corridor from Rutland to the New Hampshire border. The data resulting from this review shall be reported to the legislature by January 15, 2001.

(15) A town selectboard shall follow the process for providing notice and hearing prior to determining whether a class 2 or 3 highway, or section of highway, should be plowed and made negotiable during the winter. A property owner aggrieved by a decision of the selectboard may appeal to the Transportation Board.

(16) A town shall not be required to plow class 2 and 3 highways that have not been routinely plowed and made negotiable prior to July 1, 2000. A property owner adversely affected may request the selectboard to plow and make negotiable. A property owner aggrieved by a decision of the selectboard may appeal to the Transportation Board.

(17) Sets forth the policy for displaying supplemental guide signs.

(18) The sum of $160,000 is appropriated to the AOT for the governor’s highway safety council to procure 20 electronic speed display machines. The machines shall be distributed to county sheriffs, the department of public safety, and the governor’s highway safety council each of which shall be responsible for the maintenance and storage of the machines.

(19) The AOT shall annually issue a report detailing the fiscal year expenditures of the transportation replacement account established and maintained within the Central Garage Fund.

(20) The sum of $80,000 is appropriated to the Department of Buildings and General Services to staff and operate the White River Junction welcome center. The sum of $222,516 is appropriated to the Department of Buildings and General Services to staff and operate the Randolph, Sharon, and Hartford rest areas.

(21) The sum of $100,000 is appropriated to the AOT for the purposes of developing a Traffic Calming Demonstration Program. Grants awarded shall be for scoping, preliminary engineering, and construction of traffic calming improvements in Vermont municipalities.

(22) The Secretary is directed to enter into negotiations with the Marble Valley Regional Transit District and the city of Rutland for transfer of ownership and operation of the Rutland multimodal transportation center from the Marble Valley Regional Transit District to the city of Rutland or to the state. Transfer of the Rutland multimodal transportation center to the city of Rutland shall require approval by the Joint Fiscal Committee.

(23) The AOT shall conduct a study reviewing the regulatory processes and enforcement of current statutes and rules regarding junkyards. The Agency of Natural Resources and the Attorney General’s office shall be consulted for the study which will include any recommendations for any statutory changes and be submitted to the House and Senate Committees on Transportation on or before January 15, 2001.

(24) The Secretary of the AOT is directed to review all of the transportation projects where the estimated individual total project cost exceeds $10 million in the FY 2001 Capital Program and Project Development Plan as approved by the general assembly and to develop a project schedule and financial plan for these projects that maintains the prime goals enumerated in “Vermont’s Long Range Transportation Plan” of maintaining our current transportation infrastructure and making strategic investments; and that considers the availability of federal funds and state funds necessary to support the ongoing transportation programs of the agency. The secretary shall report this project schedule to the Senate and House Committees on Transportation on January 15, 2001.

Effective Date: Those sections of the act containing appropriations take effect on July 1, 2000. The remaining sections take effect from passage.