Title 19: Highways
Chapter 1: STATE HIGHWAY LAW
19 V.S.A. § 10g. Annual report; Transportation Program; advancements, cancellations, and delays
§ 10g. Annual report; Transportation Program; advancements, cancellations, and delays
(a) The Agency of Transportation shall annually present to the General Assembly a multiyear Transportation Program covering the same number of years as the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP), consisting of the recommended budget for all Agency activities for the ensuing fiscal year and projected spending levels for all Agency activities for the following fiscal years. The Program shall include a description and year-by-year breakdown of recommended and projected funding of all projects proposed to be funded within the time period of the STIP and, in addition, a description of all projects which are not recommended for funding in the first fiscal year of the proposed Program but which are scheduled for construction during the time period covered by the STIP. The Program shall be consistent with the planning process established by 1988 Acts and Resolves No. 200, as codified in 3 V.S.A. chapter 67 and 24 V.S.A. chapter 117, the statements of policy set forth in sections 10b-10f of this title, and the long-range systems plan, corridor studies, and project priorities developed through the capital planning process under section 10i of this title.
(b) Projected spending in future fiscal years shall be based on revenue estimates as follows:
(1) with respect to state funds, on the consensus forecast for Transportation Fund revenue adopted pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 305a and for later years on other consensus or executive branch estimates of Transportation Fund revenues; and
(2) with respect to federal funds, on such federal regulations that apply to the development of the STIP.
(c) The Program proposed by the Agency shall include systemwide indicators developed by the Agency to describe the condition of the Vermont transportation network. The Program shall discuss the background and utility of the indicators, track the indicators over time, and, where appropriate, recommend the setting of targets for the indicators.
(d)(1), (2) [Repealed.]
(e)(1) The Agency's annual Transportation Program shall include a separate report summarizing with respect to the most recently ended fiscal year:
(A) all expenditures of funds by source; and
(B) all unexpended appropriations of transportation funds and TIB funds that have been carried forward from the previous fiscal year to the ensuing fiscal year.
(2) The summary shall identify expenditures and carry forwards for each program category included in the proposed annual Transportation Program as adopted for the closed fiscal year in question and such other information as the Agency deems appropriate.
(f) Each year following enactment of a Transportation Program under this section, the Agency shall prepare and make available to the public the Transportation Program established by the General Assembly. The resulting document shall be entered in the permanent records of the Agency and of the Board, and shall constitute the State's official Transportation Program.
(g) The Agency's annual Transportation Program shall include a separate report referencing this section describing all proposed projects in the Program which would be new to the State Transportation Program if adopted.
(h) Should capital projects in the Transportation Program be delayed because of unanticipated problems with permitting, right-of-way acquisition, construction, local concern, or availability of federal or State funds, the Secretary is authorized to advance projects in the approved Transportation Program. The Secretary is further authorized to undertake projects to resolve emergency or safety issues. Upon authorizing a project to resolve an emergency or safety issue, the Secretary shall give prompt notice of the decision and action taken to the Joint Fiscal Office and to the House and Senate Committees on Transportation when the General Assembly is in session, and when the General Assembly is not in session, to the Joint Transportation Oversight Committee. Should an approved project in the current Transportation Program require additional funding to maintain the approved schedule, the Agency is authorized to allocate the necessary resources. However, the Secretary shall not delay or suspend work on approved projects to reallocate funding for other projects except when other funding options are not available. In such case, the Secretary shall notify the members of the Joint Transportation Oversight Committee and the Joint Fiscal Office. With respect to projects in the approved Transportation Program, the Secretary shall notify, in the district affected, the regional planning commission, the municipality, Legislators, members of the Senate and House Committees on Transportation, and the Joint Fiscal Office of any significant change in design, change in construction cost estimates requiring referral to the Transportation Board under section 10h of this title, or any change which likely will affect the fiscal year in which the project is planned to go to construction. No project shall be cancelled without the approval of the General Assembly.
(i) For the purpose of enabling the State, without delay, to take advantage of economic development proposals that increase jobs for Vermonters, a transportation project certified by the Governor as essential to the economic infrastructure of the State economy, or a local economy, may be approved for construction by a committee comprising of the Joint Fiscal Committee meeting with the Chairs of the Transportation Committees or their designees without explicit project authorization through an enacted Transportation Program, in the event that such authorization is otherwise required by law.
(j) The Agency of Transportation, in coordination with the Agency of Natural Resources and the Division for Historic Preservation, shall prepare and implement a plan for advancing approved projects contained in the approved Transportation Program. The plan shall include the assignment of a project manager from the Agency of Transportation for each project. The Agency of Transportation, the Agency of Natural Resources, and the Division for Historic Preservation shall set forth provisions for expediting the permitting process and establishing a means for evaluating each project during concept design planning if more than one agency is involved to determine whether it should be advanced or deleted from the Program.
(k) For purposes of subsection (h) of this section, "emergency or safety issues" shall mean:
(1) serious damage to a transportation facility caused by a natural disaster over a wide area, such as a flood, hurricane, earthquake, severe storm, or landslide; or
(2) catastrophic or imminent catastrophic failure of a transportation facility from any cause; or
(3) any condition identified by the Secretary as hazardous to the traveling public; or
(4) any condition evidenced by fatalities or a high incidence of crashes.
( l ) The Agency shall develop a numerical grading system to assign a priority rating to all Program Development Paving, Program Development Roadway, Program Development Safety and Traffic Operations, Program Development State and Interstate Bridge, Town Highway Bridge, and Bridge Maintenance projects. The rating system shall consist of two separate, additive components as follows:
(1) One component shall be limited to asset management-based factors which are objective and quantifiable and shall consider, without limitation, the following:
(A) the existing safety conditions in the project area and the impact of the project on improving safety conditions;
(B) the average, seasonal, peak, and nonpeak volume of traffic in the project area, including the proportion of traffic volume relative to total volume in the region, and the impact of the project on congestion and mobility conditions in the region;
(C) the availability, accessibility, and usability of alternative routes;
(D) the impact of the project on future maintenance and reconstruction costs; and
(E) the relative priority assigned to the project by the relevant regional planning commission or the Chittenden County Metropolitan Planning Organization.
(2) The second component of the priority rating system shall consider, without limitation, the following factors:
(A) the functional importance of the highway or bridge as a link in the local, regional, or State economy; and
(B) the functional importance of the highway or bridge in the social and cultural life of the surrounding communities.
(3) The priority rating system for Program Development Roadway projects shall award as bonus points an amount equal to 10 percent of the total base possible rating points to projects within a designated downtown development district established pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793.
(m) The annual Transportation Program shall include an individual priority rating pursuant to subsection ( l ) of this section for each highway paving, roadway, safety and traffic operations, and bridge project in the program along with a description of the system and methodology used to assign the ratings.
(n) The Agency's annual Transportation Program shall include a project-by-project description in each program of all proposed spending of funds for the development and evaluation of projects. In the approved annual Transportation Program, these funds shall be reserved to the identified projects subject to the discretion of the Secretary to reallocate funds to other projects within the program when it is determined that the scheduled expenditure of the identified funds will be delayed due to permitting, local decision-making, the availability of federal or State funds, or other unanticipated problems.
(o) For projects initially approved by the General Assembly for inclusion in the State Transportation Program after January 1, 2006, the agency's proposed Transportation Program prepared pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and the official Transportation Program prepared pursuant to subsection (f) of this section shall include the year in which such projects were first approved by the General Assembly. (Added 1989, No. 121, § 6, eff. June 22, 1989; amended 1989, No. 246 (Adj. Sess.), § 38; 1991, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 25b, eff. May 15, 1992; 1993, No. 89, § 22; 1993, No. 89, § 22; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; 1995, No. 60, § 20, eff. April 25, 1995; 1995, No. 183 (Adj. Sess.), § 17, eff. May 22, 1996; 1997, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 12a, eff. April 27, 1998; 2001, No. 64, § 9, eff. June 16, 2001; 2003, No. 160 (Adj. Sess.), § 30, eff. June 9, 2004; 2005, No. 80, §§ 53, 60; 2005, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 46, 47; 2007, No. 75, §§ 35(a), 38; 2007, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 61, 62; 2009, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 22; 2011, No. 62, § 36, eff. Jan. 1, 2012; 2011, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 29.)