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Journal of the Senate

________________

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Senate was called to order by the President pro tempore.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by the Reverend Scott Carlson of Bethel.

Message from the House No. 58

     A message was received from the House of Representatives by Ms. Wrask, its Second Assistant Clerk, as follows:

Mr. President:

     I am directed to inform the Senate the House has considered Senate proposals of amendment to House bills of the following titles:

     H. 372.  An act relating to the rendering of nursing and medical services by professional corporations.

     H. 510.  An act relating to Vermont Life Magazine.

And has severally concurred therein.

Bills Referred to Committee on Appropriations

House bills of the following titles, appearing on the Calendar for notice, and carrying an appropriation or requiring the expenditure of funds, under the rule, were severally referred to the Committee on Appropriations:

H. 368.

An act relating to the regulation of professions and occupations.

H. 405.

An act relating to capital construction.

Joint Resolution Adopted on the Part of the Senate

Joint Senate resolution of the following title was offered, read and adopted on the part of the Senate, and is as follows:

   By Senator Shumlin,

     J.R.S. 31.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That when the two Houses adjourn on Friday, April 20, 2007, it be to meet again no later than Tuesday, April 24, 2007.

Rules Suspended; Bill Not Referred to Committee Appropriations; Rules Suspended; Proposal of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered; Rules Suspended; Bill Passed in Concurrence with Proposal of Amendment; Bill Messaged

H. 527.

Appearing on the Calendar for notice, and, pending referral of the bill to the Committee on Appropriations pursuant to Senate Rule 31, Senator Kitchel moved that the rules be suspended and that Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to the state’s transportation program.

Not be referred to the Committee on Appropriations pursuant to Senate Rule 31 ( and thereby remain on the Calendar for notice),

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, appearing on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Kitchel, the rules were suspended and the bill was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Mazza, for the Committee on Transportation, to which the bill was referred, reported recommending that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM; ADVANCEMENTS, CANCELLATIONS, AND DELAYS

(a)  The state’s proposed fiscal year 2008 transportation program appended to the agency of transportation’s proposed fiscal year 2008 budget, as amended by this act, is adopted to the extent federal, state, and local funds are available. 

(b)  As used in this act, unless otherwise indicated, the term “agency” means the agency of transportation, and the term “secretary” means the secretary of transportation.  As used in this act, the table heading “As Proposed” means the transportation program referenced in subsection (a) of this section; the table heading “As Amended” means the amendments as made by this act; the table heading “Change” means the difference obtained by subtracting the “As Proposed” figure from the “As Amended” figure; and the term “change” or “changes” in the text refers to the project- and program-specific amendments, the aggregate sum of which equals the net “Change” in the applicable table heading.

* * * Program Development – Roadway * * *

Sec. 2.  PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT – ROADWAY

The following modifications are made to the program development – roadway program:

(1)  Authorized spending on the Morristown VT100 project, STP F 029-1(2), is amended to read:

       FY08                        As Proposed    As Amended             Change

          PE                                   50,000             50,000                      0

          ROW                            150,000           550,000           400,000

          Construction                             0                      0                      0

          Other                                        0                      0                      0

          Total                              200,000           600,000           400,000

       Sources of funds                                                                           

          State                                40,880             89,880             49,000

          Federal                          159,120           479,120           320,000

          Toll credits                                0             31,000             31,000

          Total                              200,000           600,000           400,000

(2)  The agency is directed to advance the Springfield TH 3 project, STP 0136(1), as a preventive maintenance project.  The scope of the project shall be determined in consultation between the agency and the town of Springfield. Upon agreement as to the scope of the project, the agency shall develop the project and be prepared to begin construction during state fiscal year 2009. 

(3)  The unspent funds authorized for expenditure for the Waterbury Main Street project, FEGC F‑013-4(13), in fiscal year 2007 shall be brought forward and used in fiscal year 2008 to advance the improvements at the intersection of Park Row and Main Street.

(4)  A new project is added to the SFY 2007 and SFY 2008 development and evaluation section:  Pittsford police academy has received an earmark for a project to provide a driver training pad at the criminal justice and fire service training center in Pittsford.  The pad will facilitate in the training of various protection agencies in the defensive operation of their vehicle and to conduct emergency vehicle operations, fire, rescue training, “stopping vehicle training” and for motorcycle licensing.  The project consists of constructing a 350′ x 125′ bituminous concrete training pad with an 800′ long x 20′ wide bituminous concrete acceleration/approach road to the pad.  The amount of federal funds available from the earmark is $491,964 (100 percent - Federal).  The project shall appear as follows: Pittsford STP SKID(1).

(5)  The Middlebury Cross Street project STP 5900( ) which was inadvertently omitted from the agency’s proposed FY08 transportation program as submitted to the general assembly, shall be included by the agency in its publication of the transportation program as enacted by the general assembly pursuant to 19 V.S.A. § 10g(f).

(6)  The agency shall continue its commitment to the Bennington Bypass South project, NH F 019-1(4), as evidenced by the acquisition of right-of-way during state fiscal year 2007, for removal of material from the northern segment to the southern segment, for use as stage one sites for the Bennington Bypass North project, NH F 019-1(5).  At such time as construction funds are identified for the Bennington Bypass South project NH F 019-1(4), the agency shall advance this project on the development and evaluation (D & E) list.

* * * Bridge Programs * * *

Sec. 3.  INTERSTATE, STATE, AND TOWN HIGHWAY BRIDGE PROGRAMS

To rectify an agency oversight while developing the proposed transportation capital program, notwithstanding 19 V.S.A. § 10g(n), the agency is authorized to expend development and evaluation funds identified for unnamed candidate projects in the interstate, state, and town highway bridge programs on listed candidate projects in each program according to the priority rating and status of such projects within the project development process.

Sec. 4.  PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT – STATE BRIDGE

The following modifications are made to the program development – state bridge program:

(1)  Authorized spending on the Williamstown BRS 0204(4) project, replacement of BR10 over brook No. 2, is amended to read:

       FY08                        As Proposed    As Amended             Change

          PE                                     1,603               1,603                      0

          ROW                              48,716             48,716                      0

          Construction                  850,000           450,000          -400,000

          Other                                        0                      0                      0

          Total                              900,319           500,319          -400,000

       Sources of funds                                                                           

          State                              180,064           100,064            -80,000

          Federal                          720,255           400,255          -320,000

          Local                                        0                      0                      0

          Total                              900,319           500,319          -400,000


* * * Maintenance * * *

Sec. 5.  MAINTENANCE

(a)  Total authorized spending in the maintenance program is modified as follows:

       FY08                             As Proposed    As Amended             Change

          Personal Services           32,933,303      32,933,303                      0

          Operating Expenses       30,858,345      30,711,345          -147,000

          Grants                                206,500           206,500                      0

          Total                              63,998,148      63,851,148          -147,000

       Sources of funds

          State                              60,174,213      60,027,213          -147,000

          Federal                            3,723,935        3,723,935                      0

          Local                                  100,000           100,000                      0

          Total                              63,998,148      63,851,148          -147,000

(b)  These changes are made:

(1)  To reduce funding for intelligent transportation system (ITS) projects by $347,000 of transportation funds.  The agency shall continue to operate the “511” traveler information service at not less than the same level of service as provided in fiscal year 2007.  Subject to this condition, the agency shall allocate the remaining authorized funds for ITS projects at its discretion.

(2)  To add $100,000 of transportation funds for a small improvement project to construct an underground cattle pass on Vermont Route 100 to serve the so-called Turner Farm.  In fiscal year 2008, the agency shall use the authorized funds for the sole purpose of designing, permitting, and installing an underground cattle pass and associated highway traffic safety features.  The associated work is contingent upon the Turner estate donating any necessary right-of-way outside the existing highway right-of-way.  Moreover, the Turner estate, for itself and its successors-in-interest, must agree to a maintenance and liability agreement satisfactory to the agency.  Once completed, the existing cattle crossing signs and warning signals will be removed by the agency.

(3)  To add $100,000 of transportation funds to be used for the acquisition of vehicle-mounted sweeper attachments to aid in the removal of debris from the roadway in support of bicycle and pedestrian activities.

* * * Rest Area Capital Construction * * *

Sec.6.  REST AREAS

The following modifications are made to the rest areas program:

(1)  Authorized spending on the Hartford I-91 rest area sewer line project, IM BLDG(1), is amended to read:

FY08                         As Proposed    As Amended             Change

PE                                   50,000             50,000                      0

ROW                                       0                      0                      0

Construction               2,950,000        3,250,000           300,000

Other                                        0                      0                      0

Total                           3,000,000        3,300,000           300,000

Sources of funds                                                                            

State                              300,000           600,000           300,000

Federal                       2,700,000        2,700,000                      0

Local                                        0                      0                      0

Total                           3,000,000        3,300,000           300,000

* * * Department of Motor Vehicles * * *

Sec. 7.  DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES

(a)  Authorized spending by the department of motor vehicles is amended to read:

       FY08                             As Proposed    As Amended             Change

          Personal Services           17,134,501      17,247,046           112,545

          Operating Expenses         7,629,667        7,629,667                      0

          Grants                                339,000           339,000                      0

          Total                              25,103,168      25,215,713           112,545

       Sources of funds

          State                              23,329,029      23,441,574           112,545

          Federal                            1,774,139        1,774,139                      0

          Local                                             0                      0                      0

          Total                              25,103,168      25,215,713           112,545

(b)  This change is made to add $112,545 in state funds for the DMV computer system upgrade project.

* * * Policy and Planning * * *

Sec. 8.  POLICY AND PLANNING

Authorized spending in policy and planning is amended to read:

       FY08                        As Proposed    As Amended             Change

          Personal Services        4,969,906        4,921,906            -48,000

          Operating Expenses       964,875           964,875                      0

          Grants                         4,690,227        4,690,227                      0

          Total                         10,625,008      10,577,008            -48,000

       Sources of funds                                                                           

          State                           2,597,643        2,592,843              -4,800

          Federal                       7,887,365        7,844,165            -43,200

          Other                             140,000           140,000                      0

          Total                         10,625,008      10,577,008            -48,000

* * * Public Transit * * *

Sec. 9.  PUBLIC TRANSIT 

The following modifications are made to the public transit program:

(1)  For the purpose of redirecting capital assets for use in the acquisition of new buses and equipment for public transportation, the secretary of transportation, as agent for the state of Vermont, shall sell, for fair market value, a 2003 MCI 4500D motor coach, owned by the state and purchased with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds, to Greyhound Lines, Inc.  Subject to the prior approval of the FTA, the sale proceeds of $215,775.71 shall be applied as soon as practicable to purchase a minimum of three new medium-size rural service delivery, public transit buses, in accordance with the highest priority needs in the agency's capital program.

(2)(A)  Authorized spending in the public transit program is amended to read:

       FY08                        As Proposed    As Amended             Change

          Personal services                948,669           948,669                      0

          Operating expenses               77,517             77,517                      0

          Grants                           16,225,259      16,684,383           459,124

          Other                                             0                      0                      0

          Total                              17,251,445      17,710,569           459,124

       Sources of funds

          State                                5,899,044        6,314,968           415,924

          Federal                          11,352,401      11,395,601             43,200

          Other                                             0                      0                      0

          Total                              17,251,445      17,710,569           459,124

(B)  These changes are made:

(i)  to incorporate the spending of $215,775.71 in transportation funds authorized in subsection (1) of this section;

(ii) to add an additional $43,348 in transportation funds to the public transit – capital equipment replacement program; and

(iii)  to add $156,800 in transportation funds and $43,200 in federal funds to authorized spending in the public transit elders and persons with disabilities program for critical medical care transportation services.  These funds are authorized on a one-time basis to provide emergency supplemental funding to the elderly and disabled transportation program.  The funds are intended to provide program security by setting aside supplementary elderly and disabled transportation program funds (E&D funds) for critical care transportation appropriated for fiscal year 2008.  In order to maintain program integrity and prevent the revision of allocation and spending patterns based upon the existence of this new supplemental fund, all agencies receiving such funding shall maintain in fiscal year 2008 the funding amounts initially programmed for by the regional elderly and disabled advisory committees in fiscal year 2007.  Further, in an effort to develop a more consistent approach to the use of E&D funds by diverse regional entities, the agency shall provide revised or additional E&D program management guidance, or both, to be followed by all recipients of this funding.  The agency of transportation shall hold these supplemental funds in reserve, and shall disperse these funds to agencies that have grant agreements with the agency for the provision of elderly and disabled transportation services only in the event that a shortfall of E&D funds occurs as a result of unanticipated high demand for non-Medicaid, critical care transportation services which results in a lack of funds available to continue critical care transportation services.

Sec. 10. CRITICAL CARE TRANSPORTATION STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  A critical care transportation study committee is established, consisting of representatives of the agency of transportation and the agency of human services as designated by the secretaries of the respective agencies; a representative of the Vermont area agencies on aging; a representative of the Vermont center for independent living; a representative of the Vermont association of adult day care services; a representative of the Vermont public transportation association to represent rural public transportation providers; a representative of the Vermont public transportation association to represent urban public transportation providers; a representative of the Vermont kidney foundation; and a representative of the American Cancer Society.  For the purposes of this section, critical care transportation is defined as transportation to and from dialysis and cancer treatment medical services for Vermonters not eligible for Medicaid transportation services.  The committee shall be co-chaired by a representative of the agency of transportation and a representative of the agency of human services as designated by the secretaries of the respective agencies.

(b)  The committee shall review the current service delivery system for critical care transportation, and develop recommendations for program administration approaches that will ensure critical care transportation program stability, and eliminate annual regional fluctuations of need, and make policy recommendations toward the establishment of prudent and predictable funding that is tied to clear policy objectives determined to be reasonable, sustainable, and affordable.  The committee shall consider such issues as program coordination among nonprofit agencies and funding sources, sustainability of funding, ease of administration, compatibility with other programs, need for service, and other issues it deems relevant to determine its recommendations. 

(c)  The agency of human services and agency of transportation shall provide administrative and staff support for the committee.

(d)  The committee shall deliver its report, including any recommendations for proposed legislation, to the house and senate committees on appropriations and transportation, to the house committee on human services, and the senate committee on health and welfare by December 1, 2007. 

* * * Park & Ride Municipal Initiative Program * * *

Sec. 11.  PARK & RIDE MUNICIPAL INITIATIVE PROGRAM

Authorized spending in the park & ride municipal initiative program is amended to read:

       FY08                        As Proposed    As Amended             Change

          PE                                 200,000           250,000             50,000

          ROW                                       0                      0                      0

          Construction                             0                      0                      0

          Other                                        0                      0                      0

          Total                              200,000           250,000             50,000

       Sources of funds

          State                              200,000           250,000             50,000

          Federal                                     0                      0                      0

          Local                                        0                      0                      0

          Total                              200,000           250,000             50,000

* * * Town Highway Emergency Fund * * *

Sec. 12.  TOWN HIGHWAY EMERGENCY FUND

Funding of the town highway emergency fund is amended to read:

       FY08                        As Proposed    As Amended             Change

          Personal Services                      0                      0                      0

          Operating Expenses                  0                      0                      0

          Grants                         1,185,893           750,000          -435,893

          Total                           1,185,893           750,000          -435,893

       Sources of funds

          State                           1,185,893           750,000          -435,893

          Federal                                     0                      0                      0

          Local                                        0                      0                      0

          Total                           1,185,893           750,000          -435,893

* * * Town Highway Class 2 Roadway Program * * *

Sec. 13.  TOWN HIGHWAY CLASS 2 ROADWAY

Authorized spending on the town highway class 2 roadway program is amended to read:

       FY08                        As Proposed    As Amended             Change

          Personal Services                      0                      0                      0

          Operating Expenses                  0                      0                      0

          Grants                         4,748,750        5,748,750        1,000,000

          Total                           4,748,750        5,748,750        1,000,000

       Sources of funds                                                                           

          State                           4,748,750        5,748,750        1,000,000

          Federal                                     0                      0                      0

          Local                                        0                      0                      0

          Total                           4,748,750        5,748,750        1,000,000

* * * VT 2A/VT 289 – VT 127 Corridor * * *

Sec. 14.  TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS ALONG CORRIDOR BETWEEN EXISTING VT 2A/VT 289 INTERCHANGE IN TOWN OF ESSEX AND VT 127 (HEINEBERG DRIVE) IN TOWN OF COLCHESTER

(a)  For purposes of this section, “corridor” means the corridor between the existing VT 2A/VT 289 interchange in the town of Essex and VT 127 (Heineberg Drive) in the town of Colchester.

(b)  The agency, in cooperation with the Chittenden County metropolitan planning organization (CCMPO), shall provide a projected timeline for transportation improvements along the corridor.  The timeline shall address the following:

(1)  Major steps, including environmental reviews;

(2)  The agency’s best current estimate of the time, workforce, and financial resources needed and likely to be available for transportation improvements along the corridor;

(3)  The CCMPO’s best current estimate of its future year-by-year prioritization of transportation improvements along the corridor within the CCMPO’s transportation improvement plan (TIP);

(4)  The agency’s best current estimate of its future year by year prioritization of transportation improvements along the corridor pursuant to the requirements of 19 V.S.A. § 10g(l)-(m) (priority ratings); and

(5)  The projected fiscal year for starting and ending each of the project process steps for transportation improvements along the corridor, with appropriate caveats.    

(c)  The agency shall present the projected timeline to the house and senate committees on transportation by January 15, 2008.

* * * Agency Fleet * * *

Sec. 15.  AGENCY VEHICLE FLEET

Pursuant to 19 V.S.A. § 13(b), the agency is authorized to add one pickup truck with a plow and hopper spreader and one loader to the fleet.

* * * Cancellation of Projects * * *

Sec. 16.  CANCELLATION OF PROJECTS

Pursuant to 19 V.S.A. § 10g(f) (legislative approval for cancellation of projects), the general assembly approves cancellation of the following projects:

(1)  Bike and pedestrian facilities:

(A)  Swanton STP BIKE(29)S (bike/ped path) (town has requested termination); and

(B)  Williston STP WALK(22) (bike/ped path) (town has requested termination);

(2)  Roadway:

(A)  Fairlee SB VT 00(002) (interpretive center) (town has requested termination); and

(B)  Windsor SB VT 00(003) (waypoint interpretive center) (town has requested termination).

* * * Interpretive Signing for Official Byways * * *

Sec. 17.  10 V.S.A. § 489 is amended to read:

§ 489.  ELIGIBILITY FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS DIRECTIONAL SIGNS

(a)  Lawful businesses and points of interest and cultural, educational, and religious facilities are eligible for official business directional signs, subject to the provisions of this chapter and to rules and regulations promulgated by the travel information council, and subject further to any federal law, rule, or regulation affecting the allocation of federal highway funds or other funds to or for the benefit of this state or any agency or subdivision thereof of the state.

(b)  Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, brown-and-white official business directional signs as requested by the local byways organization may be allowed for the purpose of directing travelers to interpretive information sites along officially designated state and federal byways only.  An official business directional sign authorized under this subsection shall be located on the same state designated byway as the interpretive information site to which the sign directs attention.

* * * Service of Necessity Petitions * * *

Sec. 18.  19 V.S.A. § 506(a)(1) is amended to read:

(a)  The agency shall prepare a notice of the necessity hearing.  The notice shall include the names of the municipalities in which the lands to be taken or affected are located; the names of all interested persons within the meaning of subdivision 501(2) of this chapter; and a brief statement identifying the proposed project and its location, and the date, time and place of the necessity hearing.  The agency shall make service of copies of the petition, the notice of hearing and the survey (for the purposes of this section, “survey” means a plan, profile, or cross-section of the proposed project) as follows:

(1)  Upon interested persons in accordance with the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure for service of process, except as stated in subsection (b) of this section and in section 519 of this title or, with respect to interested parties with no known residence or place of business within the state, by certified mail, return receipt requested.  The copy of the survey that is served upon interested persons need include only the particular property in which those persons have an interest.

* * * Compensation Hearings; Projects Extending into Two

or More Counties * * *

Sec. 19.  19 V.S.A. § 511 is amended to read:

§ 511.  HEARING TO DETERMINE AMOUNT OF COMPENSATION

(a)  Following a determination of the necessity of the taking as above provided, when an owner of land or rights and the agency of transportation are unable to agree on the amount of compensation to be paid, and if the agency of transportation desires to proceed with the taking, the transportation board shall appoint a time and place in the county where the land is situated for examining the premises and hearing parties interested, giving at least 10 days' notice in writing to the person owning the land or having an interest in the land.  At that time and place, a member or members of the transportation board shall hear any person having an interest in the land and desiring to be heard.

(b)  If the land proposed to be acquired extends into two or more counties, the board may hold a single hearing in one of the counties to determine compensation.  In fixing the place for hearing, the transportation board shall take into consideration the needs of the parties. 

* * * Traffic-Control Signals * * *

Sec. 20.  23 V.S.A. § 1022(c) is amended to read:

(c)  Steady red signal.

(1)  Vehicular traffic facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.

(2)  Except when a sign is in place prohibiting a turn, vehicular traffic facing any steady red signal may cautiously enter the intersection to turn right, or to turn left from a one way street into a one way street, after stopping as required by subdivision (c)(1) of this section subsectionSuch vehicular This traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.  No motorist shall turn right when facing a red arrow signal indication unless a regulatory sign is present which permits this movement. 

(3)  Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal as provided in section 1023 of this title, pedestrians facing a steady red signal alone shall not enter the roadway.

* * * Approval of Real Estate Transaction in Charlotte * * *

Sec. 21.  APPROVAL FOR CONVEYANCE OF REAL ESTATE IN TOWN OF CHARLOTTE

Subject to the approval of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the secretary of transportation, as agent for the state of Vermont, is authorized to convey to the Vermont Electric Power Company, Inc. (VELCO) or an affiliated company, for use as a site for an electrical power substation in connection with the Northwest Reliability Project, for fair market value, part of the land acquired by the state of Vermont in 2000 for a commuter rail station and parking lot, which were part of the Charlotte–Burlington commuter train project.  The conveyance may include an easement over the state’s remaining property for vehicular access to Ferry Road (VT F-5; TH 3).


* * * Agency Cooperation with Regional Planning Commissions * * *

Sec. 22.  19 V.S.A. § 10l is added to read:

§ 10l.  AGENCY COOPERATION WITH REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSIONS

(a)  Legislative intent.  The general assembly finds that regional planning commissions possesses a unique expertise that enables the agency to conduct rural transportation planning and local consultation activities that build upon the integration of land use, environmental, and economic development inputs.  To ensure the agency continues to meet its local consultation requirements found in 23 C.F.R. part 250.212, the general assembly requires the following duties of regional planning commissions as part of an annual contract and work preparing the transportation planning initiative (TPI).

(b)  Duties of regional planning commissions.  Regional planning commissions, serving areas of the state not qualifying as a Metropolitan Planning Area under federal regulations, shall implement the transportation planning initiative (TPI) program.  This program provides the mechanism by which the agency coordinates policy development and planning to ensure the involvement by Vermont citizens and rural local officials.  It shall include, but not be limited to:

(1)  Ensuring that local officials and citizens are involved in the

statewide transportation planning process. 

(2)  Providing technical assistance to facilitate local officials and staff in making transportation policy and investment decisions.

(3)  Coordinating town planning and development regulations to meet better state transportation policies and investment priorities.

(4)  Participating in state and national transportation policy and planning development processes to ensure regional and local input.

(5)  Implementing a project evaluation process to prioritize all transportation projects within the regions utilizing state or federal funds to be included in the state transportation program.

(6)  Developing and maintaining a regional, multi-modal transportation plan that clearly details regional and local project, planning, and policy priorities. 

(7)  Maintaining a regional transportation advisory committee (TAC) that reviews and provides input on all major state and federal transportation planning and policy decisions.  In order to facilitate this input, the regional planning commissions, in collaboration with the agency of transportation, shall provide warning and notice of all public meetings regarding transportation plans, projects, and proposals.

* * * Registration for Specialized Fuel-Driven Motor Vehicles * * *

Sec. 23.  23 V.S.A. § 4(22) is amended to read:

(22)  "Nongasoline driven motor vehicle" “Specialized fuel-driven motor vehicle”  shall include all motor vehicles, the power for which is generated otherwise than by gasoline, except diesel driven vehicles using or by diesel "fuel" as defined in section 3002 of this title, excluding steam road rollers, tractors used entirely for work on the farm and vehicles running only upon rails or tracks.

Sec. 24.  23 V.S.A. § 362 is amended to read:

§ 362.  NONGASOLINE AND NONDIESEL SPECIALIZED FUEL MOTOR VEHICLES AND MOTOR BUSES

The annual fee for the registration of any "nongasoline driven specialized fuel-driven motor vehicle" as defined in section 4 of this title but not including and of motor buses, as defined in section 3002 of this title and registered in this state, shall be one and three quarters three-quarters times the amount of the annual fee provided for a motor vehicle of the classification and weight under the terms of this chapter.

Sec. 25.  REPEAL

23 V.S.A. chapter 8 (bus taxation proration agreement) is repealed.

* * * Development Review Applications; Notice Requirements * * *

Sec. 26.  24 V.S.A. § 4464(a)(1) and (2) are amended to read:  

(a)  Notice procedures.  All development review applications before an appropriate municipal panel under procedures set forth in this chapter shall require notice as follows.

(1)  A warned public hearing shall be required for conditional use review, variances, administrative officer appeals, and final plat review for subdivisions.  Any public notice for a warned public hearing shall be given not less than 15 days prior to the date of the public hearing by all the following:

(A)  Publication of the date, place, and purpose of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality affected.

(B)  Posting of the same information in three or more public places within the municipality in conformance with location requirements of 1 V.S.A. § 312(c)(2), including posting within view from the public right‑of‑way most nearly adjacent to the property for which an application is made.

(C)  Written notification to the applicant and to owners of all properties adjoining the property subject to development, without regard to any public right‑of‑way including the owners of properties which would be contiguous to the property subject to development but for the interposition of a highway or other public right-of-way and, in any situation in which a variance is sought regarding setbacks from a state highway, also including written notification to the secretary of transportation.  The notification shall include a description of the proposed project and shall be accompanied by information that clearly informs the recipient where additional information may be obtained, and that participation in the local proceeding is a prerequisite to the right to take any subsequent appeal.

(2)  Public notice for hearings on all other types of development review, including site plan review, shall be given not less than seven days prior to the date of the public hearing, and shall include at a minimum all the following:

(A)  Posting of the date, place, and purpose of the hearing in three or more public places within the municipality in conformance with the time and location requirements of 1 V.S.A. § 312(c)(2).

(B)  Written notification to the applicant and to the owners of all properties adjoining the property subject to development, without regard to right‑of‑way including the owners of properties which would be contiguous to the property subject to development but for the interposition of a highway or other public right-of-way and, in any situation in which a variance is sought regarding setbacks from a state highway, also including written notification to the secretary of transportation.  The notification shall include a description of the proposed project and shall be accompanied by information that clearly informs the recipient where additional information may be obtained, and that participation in the local proceeding is a prerequisite to the right to take any subsequent appeal.

* * * Transportation State Policy * * *

Sec. 27.  19 V.S.A. § 10b(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Transportation projects shall be designed to In developing the state’s annual transportation program, the agency shall, consistent with the planning goals listed in 24 V.S.A. § 4302 as amended by No. 200 of the Acts of the 1987 Adj. Sess. (1988) and with appropriate consideration to local, regional, and state agency plans:

(1)  Develop or incorporate designs that provide safe and efficient transportation and to promote economic opportunities for Vermonters and the best use of the state's natural environmental and historic resources, consistent with the planning goals listed in 24 V.S.A. § 4302 as amended by Act No. 200 of the Acts of the 1987 Adj. Sess. (1988) and with appropriate consideration to local, regional and state agency plans.

(2)  Manage available funding to:

(A)  give priority to preserving the functionality of the existing transportation infrastructure, and

(B)  adhere to credible project delivery schedules.

* * * Repeal * * *

Sec. 28.  REPEAL; STATEMENT OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT

(a)  19 V.S.A. § 10 g(g) (planning meetings) is repealed.

(b)  This repeal does not absolve the agency of transportation from its existing public involvement responsibilities under 23 C.F.R. § 450.212(f), as certified to the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.  This annual certification outlines the agency’s public involvement responsibilities in three areas:  the transportation planning initiative (TPI); development and adoption of the long-range transportation plan; and development and adoption of the state transportation improvement plan (STIP).

* * * Smugglers Notch * * *

Sec. 29.  23 V.S.A. § 1006b is added to read:

§ 1006b.  SMUGGLERS NOTCH; WINTER CLOSURE OF VERMONT ROUTE 108

The agency of transportation may close the Smugglers Notch segment of Vermont Route 108 during periods of winter weather.  Closings shall become effective when signs to inform the traveling public are in place at both closure points.  These signs shall conform to the standards of section 1025 of this title.

* * * Town Highway Structures and Class 2 Roadway Programs * * *

Sec. 30.  19 V.S.A. § 306(e) is amended to read:

(e)  State aid for town highway structures.  There shall be an annual appropriation for grants to municipalities for maintenance, including actions to extend life expectancy, and construction of bridges, culverts, and other structures, including causeways and retaining walls, intended to preserve the integrity of the traveled portion of class 1, 2, and 3 town highways.  Each fiscal year, the agency shall approve qualifying projects with a total estimated state share cost of $3,490,000.00 at a minimum as new grants.  The agency’s proposed appropriation for the program shall take into account the estimated amount of qualifying invoices submitted to the agency with respect to project grants approved in prior years but not yet completed as well as with respect to new project grants to be approved in the fiscal year.  In a given fiscal year, should expenditures in the town highway structures program exceed the amount appropriated, the agency shall advise the governor of the need to request a supplemental appropriation from the general assembly to fund the additional project cost, provided that the agency has previously committed to completing those projects.  Funds received as grants for state aid for town highway structures may be used by a municipality to satisfy a portion of the matching requirements for federal earmarks, subject to subsection 309b(c) of this title.

Sec. 31.  19 V.S.A. § 306(h) is amended to read:

(h)  Class 2 town highway roadway program.  There shall be an annual appropriation for grants to municipalities for resurfacing, rehabilitation, or reconstruction of paved or unpaved class 2 town highways.  Each fiscal year, the agency shall approve qualifying projects with a total estimated state share cost of $4,240,000.00 at a minimum as new grants.  The agency’s proposed appropriation for the program shall take into account the estimated amount of qualifying invoices submitted to the agency with respect to project grants approved in prior years but not yet completed as well as with respect to new project grants to be approved in the fiscal year.  In a given fiscal year, should expenditures in the town highway class 2 roadway program exceed the amount appropriated, the agency shall advise the governor of the need to request a supplemental appropriation from the general assembly to fund the additional project cost, provided that the agency has previously committed to completing those projects.  Funds received as grants for state aid under the class 2 town highway roadway program may be used by a municipality to satisfy a portion of the matching requirements for federal earmarks, subject to subsection 309b(c) of this title.

Sec. 32.  19 V.S.A. § 309b(c) is amended to read:

(c)  Notwithstanding § 309a subsections (a), (b) and (c) of section 309a of this title, a municipality may use a grant awarded under the town highway structures program or the class 2 town highway roadway program to provide the nonfederal matching funds required to draw down a federal earmark.  In all such cases, the grant shall be matched by local funds as provided in this section.  The intended use of a town highway grant as matching funds for a federal earmark shall not entitle a municipal grant applicant to any priority for a grant award in any fiscal year.  When grants awarded under the town highway structures program or the class 2 town highway roadway program are used to satisfy nonfederal matching requirements for federal earmarks, the term “project costs” in subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall refer only to the nonfederal match for the federal earmark. 

Sec. 33.  19 V.S.A. § 309a(d) is added to read:

(d)  In any case of highway or bridge construction in which a municipality bears a share of the project costs, the fair market value of any land, material, or services donated by the municipality and used in the project shall be credited to the municipality’s share of the project costs subject to the provisions of 23 U.S.C. § 323 with respect to a federal aid project, with any surplus being thereafter credited to the remainder of the nonfederal match requirement.

* * * Enhancement Grant Program * * *

Sec. 34.  19 V.S.A. § 38(g) is amended to read:

(g)  Each year, up to $200,000.00 of the grant program or such lesser sum if all eligible applications amount to less than $200,000.00 shall be reserved for municipalities for eligible salt and sand shed projects.  Grant awards for eligible projects shall not exceed $50,000.00 per project.  Regarding the balance of grant program funds, in In evaluating applications for enhancement grants, the transportation enhancement grant committee shall give preferential weighting to projects involving as a primary feature a bicycle or pedestrian facility.  The degree of preferential weighting and the circumstantial factors sufficient to overcome the weighting shall be in the complete discretion of the transportation enhancement grant committee.

* * * Access to State Highway Rights-of-Way;

Appeal to Transportation Board ** *

Sec. 35.  19 V.S.A. § 5(d) is amended to read:

(d)  The board shall:

(1)  hear appeals from agency decisions and rulings regarding measurement, description or reclassification of town highways pursuant to section 305 of this title;

(2)  hear and determine small claims pursuant to section 20 of this title;

(3)  provide appellate review, when requested in writing, of decisions of the secretary of transportation when he or she assumes the powers and duties of a selectboard in highway matters in unorganized towns and gores pursuant to section 16 of this title;

(4)  provide appellate review, when requested in writing, regarding legal disputes in the execution of contracts;

(5)  provide appellate review, when requested in writing, of decisions of the secretary in administering the provisions of Title 24, relating to junkyards;

(6)  provide appellate review when requested in writing, regarding the fairness of rents and fees charged for the occupancy or use of state-owned properties administered by the agency;

(7)  provide appellate review, when requested in writing, of agency decisions and rulings regarding private and commercial access to state highway rights-of-way pursuant to the permit process established in section 1111 of this title;

(7)(8)  in coordination with the agency, hold public hearings for the purpose of obtaining public comment on the development of state transportation policy, the mission of the agency, and state transportation planning, capital programming, and program implementation;

(8)(9)  hear and determine disputes involving the decision of a selectboard under subdivision 302(a)(3)(B) or subsection 310(a) of this title not to plow and make negotiable a class 2 or 3 town highway or section of a highway during the winter or involving discontinuances of class 3 or 4 town highways extending into adjacent towns under the provisions of subsection 771(c) of this title; and

(9)(10)  when requested by the secretary, conduct public hearings on matters of public interest, after which it shall transmit its findings and recommendations to the secretary and the chairs of the senate and house committees on transportation in a report which shall be a public document.

Sec. 36.  LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL FOR PURCHASE OF EQUIPMENT FOR AMTRAK VERMONT SERVICE 

(a)  Pursuant to Sec. 20 of No. 175 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006), the general assembly approves the state of Vermont’s purchase, through the agency, of diesel multiple unit (DMU) equipment for a demonstration project to improve Amtrak passenger train service to Vermont.

(b)  This approval is subject to the following conditions:

(1)  Financing for the demonstration project must be available under the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan program administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

(2)  There must be availability of a grant of $2 million from Amtrak to assist with certain costs related to the demonstration project, including transition costs, maintenance facilities, marketing, engineering oversight, and service improvements to Vermont stations.

(3)  The DMU equipment selected by Amtrak through a competitive procurement process in 2003 must be utilized.

(4)  The purchase contract with the DMU vendor shall include an option to purchase future equipment, with pricing protections.

(5)  The DMU equipment must meet or exceed current Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) structural safety requirements. 

(6)  The DMU equipment must comply with accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

(7)  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.

(8)  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.

(9)  Any agreements between the state of Vermont and Amtrak or the FRA must be flexible enough to permit redeployment of the DMU equipment in the event of the reconfiguration of Amtrak service to Vermont.  

Sec. 37.  PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION; COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING

(a)  The agency shall add staff capacity (either an additional position or a consultant, as determined by the secretary) to develop options for an efficient, well-coordinated public transportation system with emphasis on connectivity adjustments that might be necessary as a result of implementing any options listed under subsection (b) of this section.  The agency shall examine the feasibility of making public transportation in Vermont seamless, efficient, and user-friendly, with usable connections among in-state and out-of-state points.  In conducting research and developing recommendations, the agency shall consult with the University of Vermont and with the state’s congressional delegation.

(b)  The agency shall examine the costs and benefits of various elements of the public transportation system, including, but not limited to, the following:

(1)  Terminating Amtrak’s “Vermonter” service in its entirety;

(2)  Converting Amtrak’s “Vermonter” or “Ethan Allen” service from conventional locomotive-hauled trains to diesel multiple units (DMUs);

(3)  Making White River Junction the northern terminus for Amtrak’s “Vermonter” service, either with conventional locomotive-hauled trains or DMUs; and

(4)  Coordination of all modes of transportation, including intercity bus and other bus systems, park and rides, Amtrak passenger train services, and air travel.  

(c)  On or before January 15, 2008, the agency shall submit a report on public transportation connectivity, with appropriate recommendations, to the house and senate committees on transportation.

* * * Barre Town; Access to Commercial Property * * *

Sec. 38.  AGENCY OF TRANSPORTATION APPROVAL; ACCESS TO COMMERCIAL PROPERTY NEAR VT 14/63 INTERSECTION

Notwithstanding 19 V.S.A. chapter 17 (limited access facilities), the agency is directed to approve the existing one-way entry to the commercial property located southwesterly of the Vermont Route 14/63 intersection in Barre Town at mile marker 0140, subject to the property owner compensating the state for the current fair market value of the access rights previously acquired by the state.  

* * * Relocation of Dummerston DMV Office * * *

Sec. 39.  DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES OFFICE IN DUMMERSTON; RELOCATION REPORT

The agency is directed to examine options for improving the facility and parking at the existing department of motor vehicles office in Dummerston versus renting separate space in the vicinity that meets the needs of the public. If a rental solution is found, upon the recommendation of the commissioner of motor vehicles, the chairs of the senate and house committees on transportation may approve proceeding with this option.  If an upgrade to the current facility is recommended, the agency shall report this option to the senate and house committees on transportation by January 15, 2008. 


* * * Bike and Pedestrian Accommodation Activities; Report * * *

Sec. 40.  BIKE–PEDESTRIAN ACCOMMODATION ACTIVITIES; REPORT

By January 15, 2008, the agency shall provide a report to the senate and house committees on transportation summarizing all calendar year 2007 construction season expenditures in support of bike and pedestrian facilities and accommodations, including, but not limited to, enhancement projects, the bike/ped program, and features for the accommodation of cyclists and pedestrians that are included as part of paving or other projects.

* * * Municipal Indebtedness; Certain Bridge and Roadway Projects * * *

Sec. 41.  24 V.S.A. § 1759(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Any bond issued under this subchapter shall draw interest at a rate not to exceed the rate approved by the voters of the municipal corporation in accordance with section 1758 of this title, or if no rate is specified in the vote under that section, at a rate approved by the legislative branch of the municipal corporation, such interest to be payable semiannually.  Such bonds or bond shall be payable serially, the first payment to be deferred not later than from one to five years after the issuance of the bonds and subsequent payments to be continued annually in equal or diminishing amounts so that the entire debt will be paid in not more than 20 years from the date of issue.  In the case of bonds issued for the purchase or development of a municipal forest, the first payment may be deferred not more than 30 years from the date of issuance thereof. Thereafter such bonds or bond shall be payable annually in equal or diminishing amounts so that the entire debt will be paid in not more than 60 years from the date of issue.  In the case of bonds issued for improvements on public highways that have a useful life of at least 30 years and that involve bridge construction or roadway reconstruction, including a bridge component, the entire debt will be paid in not more than 30 years from the date of issue.

* * * Railroad Farm Crossing; Study Committee * * *

Sec. 42.  RAILROAD FARM CROSSING STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  Contemporary changes in railroad operations, agricultural practices, land use and development patterns, environmental regulation, and recreational activities across the state require legislative review of state and federal regulations related to railroad grade crossings for agricultural, private, and public purposes.  A study committee is established to examine allowed usages of farm crossings, and shall consist of:  one representative each from the agency of transportation; agriculture, food and markets; and natural resources, appointed by the respective secretaries; one member from the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, appointed by the governor; one member from the senate committee on transportation appointed by the committee on committees; one member from the house committee on transportation appointed by the speaker; one public member appointed by the governor; and a member of the transportation board appointed by the chair of the board.

(b)  The committee is directed to:

(1)  Clarify the definition of "agricultural use," including a review of potential benefits and adverse impacts that statutory modifications will have in regard to safety, liability, and agricultural land conservation.

(2)  Solicit testimony from agricultural, environmental, and law enforcement organizations, railroads operating in the state, Vermont Operation Lifesaver, Inc., the Federal Railroad Administration, the emergency management division of the department of public safety, and the Vermont league of cities and towns.

(c)  Legislative members shall be compensated in accordance with section 1052 of Title 32.

(d)  The committee is authorized to meet up to four times, and the agency of transportation shall provide administrative and staff support for the committee.

(e)  The committee shall deliver its report to the senate and house committees on transportation, on agriculture, and on natural resources and energy by December 1, 2007.

And that the bill ought to pass in concurrence with such proposals of amendment.

Senator Ayer, for the Committee on Finance, to which the bill was referred, reported the same without recommendation.

Thereupon, the bill was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, and pending the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Transportation?, Senator Kitchel, on behalf of the Committee on Appropriations, moved to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Transportation as follows:

First:  By striking out Sec. 9(2)(A) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 9(2)(A) to read as follows:

(2)(A)  Authorized spending in the public transit program is amended to read:


       FY08                             As Proposed    As Amended             Change

          Personal services                948,669           948,669                      0

          Operating expenses               77,517             77,517                      0

          Grants                           16,225,259      16,641,035           415,776

          Other                                             0                      0                      0

          Total                              17,251,445      17,667,221           415,776

       Sources of funds

          State                                5,899,044        6,271,620           372,576

          Federal                          11,352,401      11,395,601             43,200

          Other                                             0                      0                      0

          Total                              17,251,445      17,667,221           415,776

Second:  By striking out Sec. 9(2)(B)(ii) in its entirety and renumbering the remaining subdivision to be numerically correct

Third, By striking out Sec. 11 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 11 to read as follows:

Sec. 11.  PARK AND RIDE MUNICIPAL INITIATIVE PROGRAM

Authorized spending in the park & ride municipal initiative program is amended to read:

       FY08                             As Proposed    As Amended             Change

          PE                                      200,000           262,000             62,000

          ROW                                            0                      0                      0

          Construction                                  0                      0                      0

          Other                                             0                      0                      0

          Total                                   200,000           262,000             62,000

       Sources of funds

          State                                   200,000           262,000             62,000

          Federal                                          0                      0                      0

          Local                                             0                      0                      0

          Total                                   200,000           262,000             62,000

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, the pending question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Transportation, as amended?, was decided in the affirmative.

Thereupon, third reading of the bill was ordered on a roll call, Yeas 27, Nays 0.

Senator Sears having demanded the yeas and nays, they were taken and are as follows:

Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Ayer, Bartlett, Carris, Condos, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, McCormack, Miller, Mullin, Nitka, Racine, Scott, Sears, Snelling, Starr, White.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: None.

The Senator absent or not voting was: Campbell, Collins, Shumlin (presiding).

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Mazza, the rules were suspended and the bill was placed on all remaining stages of its passage in concurrence with proposal of amendment forthwith.

     Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed in concurrence with proposal of amendment.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Mazza, the rules were suspended, and the bill was ordered messaged to the House forthwith.

Bill Passed in Concurrence

H. 528.

House bill of the following title was read the third time and passed in concurrence:

An act relating to approval of amendment to the charter of the city of Montpelier.

Adjournment

On motion of Senator Mazza, the Senate adjourned until eight o’clock and thirty minutes in the morning.

 



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Montpelier, Vermont


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