View the complete text of this act
ACT SUMMARY 2007-2008

SUMMARY OF THE 2008 ACTS AND RESOLVES View the complete text of this act

ACT NO. 164


Transportation; transportation program

This act:

(1) Directs the state treasurer, working jointly with the agency of transportation and the joint fiscal office, to prepare a report containing a long-term needs assessment for repair, maintenance, and rehabilitation of bridges and culverts in the state and to provide funding options and recommendations for paying for such long-term needs The funding options and recommendations are to be developed by the state treasurer, who shall select and oversee, pursuant to a public competitive selection process, an investment bank to act as an adviser to the state to develop multiple financing proposals, including but not limited to general obligation, revenue, and GARVEE bond options, for a long-term program dedicated to funding life cycle rehabilitation work on bridges and culverts in the state system and on town bridges eligible for funding under the town highway bridge program that will extend the useful lives of these structures on a long-term, cost-effective basis. On or before November 15, 2008, the treasurer shall provide the report to a special committee composed of the following: the members of the joint transportation oversight committee, the secretary of transportation, the treasurer, the secretary of administration, two gubernatorial appointees, and the commissioner of finance and management. The chair of the joint transportation oversight committee shall be in the chair of the special committee. The special committee shall meet as necessary to review the report, and by December 1, 2008, shall make such recommendations to the governor as the committee may deem appropriate regarding funding options for such programs including annual reductions in the amount of transportation funds appropriated for general government purposes as well as other state revenues generated by transportation functions that are not deposited in the transportation fund. The state treasurer shall also provide the report to the capital debt affordability advisory committee for its consideration and deliberations.

(2) Provides that on or before January 15, 2009, the agency of transportation is directed to report to the house and senate committees on transportation on its recommendation on how to most efficiently establish procedures and requirements relating to signage for all state and town bridge projects spanning more than 20 feet in length.

(3) Provides that no person shall enter or remain on any state highway facility, which means a state highway rest area, picnic ground, parking area, or park-and-ride facility, for the purpose of overnight camping unless the particular facility has been designated for that purpose by the traffic committee. The traffic committee may designate the size and types of vehicles allowed to park in a state highway facility or in particular areas of a state highway facility. Notice of the prohibitions shall be posted at the affected facilities by regulatory signs conforming to the manual on uniform traffic control devices.

(4) Clarifies that the tax proceeds from the sale of aviation jet fuel shall be allocated to the transportation fund.

(5) Provides that the agency of transportation, in cooperation with the legislature’s joint fiscal office, is directed to conduct a study to develop findings and recommendations for improving the efficient and effective delivery of public transit services in Vermont. The agency shall direct the study with the involvement of the agency of human services and of all public transit providers in the state who are direct grantees and sub-recipients of state and federal funds. Consistent with federal United We Ride initiatives, the study shall consider all federal and state funding invested through or by state and federal agencies on public, human service, and related transportation programs and shall evaluate the potential for achieving greater efficiency through coordination of effort or consolidation of funding and effort. The study report shall be delivered to the general assembly on or before January 15, 2009.

(6) Provides that the right and privilege of maintaining and operating a ferry across Lake Champlain from Larrabee’s Point in the town of Shoreham, county of Addison and state of Vermont, to the town of Ticonderoga in the state of New York, is granted to Shorewell Ferries, Inc. 1759 Ltd. d/b/a Fort Ticonderoga Ferry for a period of 45 years from the first day of January, 1991. No person other than Shorewell Ferries, Inc. 1759 Ltd. d/b/a Fort Ticonderoga Ferry, its successors or assigns, may operate a ferry within ten miles north or ten miles south from the ferry landing now in use on Larrabee’s Point during such 45-year period. All investments made by 1759 Ltd. d/b/a Fort Ticonderoga Ferry into the ferry service shall be reported to the agency of transportation, upon request, to obtain appropriate toll credits.

(7) Provides that the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to any authorized vehicle, which means a vehicle authorized by the agency of transportation (in the case of state highways) or the municipality (in the case of town highways), to perform maintenance on a highway. when the vehicle displays flashing lights meeting the requirements of the motor vehicle statutes.

(8) Provides that the agency of transportation coordinate with the agency of natural resources to investigate the potential for prepermitting new state aggregate sources, including the temporary installation of portable asphalt pavement plants associated with transportation resurfacing projects. The agency’s director of program development is directed to brief the house and senate committees on transportation on the outcome of the evaluation during testimony on the fiscal year 2010 budget.

(9) Provides that before entering into any agreement with the New York state department of transportation regarding replacement or rehabilitation of the bridge over Lake Champlain between Addison, VT and Crown Point, NY, the agency of transportation shall ensure that the agreement provides for thorough consideration of alternative transportation options, including replacement of the bridge with a ferry.

(10) Provides that VT Route 279 from the New York state line to the junction of U.S. Route 7 (western leg of Bennington bypass) is added to the state truck network. The truck network consists of designated highways that trucks of a certain size may operate on without a permit.

(11) Continues the authority granted by the general assembly authorizing the agency of transportation, as agent of the state, to purchase five Colorado Rail Car units, consisting of three motorized units and two passenger cars. The vendor of the DMU equipment must agree, should the state of Vermont determine that the demonstration project is unsuccessful, to act as the state’s agent to sell the DMU equipment at a minimum of 90 percent of the purchase price and, should the DMU equipment not sell within one year, to purchase the DMU equipment back at 90 percent of the purchase price. The stipulation in the contracts related to the equipment buyback must be reviewed by the state treasurer with regard to the effect of buyback provisions on the state’s current debt position. The contract for construction and purchase of the DMU equipment must be approved by the state treasurer and the attorney general as including sufficient guarantees to assure successful manufacture and delivery of the DMU equipment, as well as performance of the vendor’s undertakings to sell or buy back the DMU equipment, should the state determine that the demonstration project is unsuccessful.

(12) Provides that the joint fiscal office analyze and report by January 15, 2009, to the house and senate committees on transportation on the transportation fund revenue implications of amending the diesel tax to eliminate the exemption for motor buses.

(13) Sets forth the crime of railroad vandalism, and establishes penalties for the various acts which constitute this crime.

(14) Provides an exemption for complying with the school bus endorsement and equipment requirements if the driver is a school employee or a volunteer subject to a criminal background check and is transporting no more than five persons excluding the operator; provided that the vehicle has safety belts for all persons being transported;

(15) Provides that recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) be used on all agency paving projects to the extent sources of quality RAP are available consistent with producing quality hot mix asphalt. To that extent, the agency shall define paving project specifications and contract bid documents to allow the use of up to 50 percent RAP. The agency shall compare the cost-benefit of the state retaining the RAP versus the contractor retaining the RAP, and the agency shall report to the house and senate committees on transportation on the results of the comparison in the 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions.

(16) Provides that the agency of transportation is authorized, first, to spend up to $100,000.00 in federal funds from the Public Transit Program – Statewide Encouragement of Carpools (STP RIDE) program and, second, to spend up to $350,000.00 in funds ($315,000.00 federal funds and $35,000.00 state funds) from the Public Transit Program – Statewide Capital to make grant awards to sub-recipients and other public transportation providers for the purpose of maintaining existing public transportation services statewide. To help the agency of transportation determine whether increased costs are likely to trigger service reductions in the statewide system of general public transportation services, each public transportation provider, by May 31, 2008, shall provide the agency of transportation with an estimate of its projected budget deficit, if any, for fiscal year 2009, assuming continuation of the services in existence upon passage of this act. The agency of transportation in making grant awards shall mitigate to the greatest extent practicable loss of general public transportation services. In addition, the agency of transportation shall provide for an equitable geographic distribution of funds statewide, if possible, depending upon each provider’s ability to utilize preventive maintenance funding. As early as practicable, the agency of transportation shall issue a report to the joint transportation oversight committee regarding grant awards made under this section.

(17) Provides that to preclude unauthorized access by motor vehicles to the Smugglers Notch segment of Vermont Route 108 when it is closed during periods of winter weather, the agency of transportation shall develop and implement a plan by December 15, 2008 to provide for installation of physical barriers and supplementary signage. The plan shall provide for the continued accommodation of recreational and emergency access.

(18) Directs the agency of transportation to report to the house and senate committees on transportation by January 15, 2009, on a funding and management plan for all rail trails that are owned and maintained by the agency.

(19) Provides an exemption from the sign law for murals that relate exclusively to a downtown designated under state statute, whether located within or outside of the designated downtown itself, provided that all of the following apply: the mural is hand-painted; it is painted directly on the outside surface of a structure that has been in existence on the site for at least the preceding 25 years; it is located no more than three miles from the designated downtown; its placement has been authorized by the legislative body of the municipality in which it is located; and any words used pertain only to the direction or distance to, and the name of, the designated downtown. An exempted mural that is visible from the off-ramp of a limited access facility and not otherwise visible from such a facility shall also be exempt from compliance.

(20) Directs the agency of transportation to continue to study the issues related to railroad farm and other crossings and submit recommendations in a report to the senate and house committees on transportation, agriculture, and natural resources by December 1, 2008. The agency is authorized to retain the services of a consultant.

(21) Directs the agency of transportation by January 15 of each year to submit a report on the pavement conditions of the state highway system to the house and senate committees on transportation. The report shall be issued to the house and senate committees on transportation on alternate formats and measurements for this report.

(22) Directs the agency of transportation by January 15 of each year to submit a report on the condition of bridges, culverts, and other structures on the state system and town highways to the house and senate committees on transportation. The agency shall address alternate formats and measurements for this report.

Effective Date: The portion of the act addressing the North Avenue rail tunnel, the supplemental paving program, the long-term assessment of bridges, culverts, long-term assessment, and the public transit system integrity take effect from passage and the remainder on July 1, 2008.

Program funding summary:

FY09 Transportation Program ( excluding Central Garage internal service funds)

FY08 Transportation Budget - All funding sources

H.889 As passed

Administration & Finance


Policy & Planning


Transportation Boards


Department of Motor Vehicles


Public Transit






Rest Areas


AOT Buildings


Program Development




State bridges


Interstate bridges


Bridge Maintenance Program


Pedestrian & Bike Facilities




Park & Ride




Safety & Traffic Operations


Multi-Modal Facilities


Administration & Tech Services


Sub-total Program Development


Rail Program


Rail infrastructure




Sub-total Rail Program


Total AOT Programs


Town Programs


TH Aid


TH Bridges


TH Class 2


TH Structures


TH Class 1 supplemental grants


TH Emergency fund


FEMA grant program


TH VT Local Roads


Clean & Clear grant program


Total Town Programs


Total all programs


Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont