Circumferential Highway decision appeals dropped

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(Host) The state and federal governments have dropped their appeals of a court decision that halted the second phase of the Circumferential Highway in Chittenden County.

The decision means the state’s focus will be on finishing an environmental impact statement that will look at the best ways to alleviate highway congestion in the Taft Corners area of Williston.

Neale Lunderville is the state’s Transportation Secretary.

(Lunderville) “We are disappointed that the Solicitor General made this decision. We believe there is merit in this appeal, but that said we are looking to the future, working on the environmental impact statement, and finding out the best way to solve a lot of the transportation challenges that Chittenden County faces.”

(Host) Brian Dunkiel is a lawyer for the Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative. He says the decision is an important milestone.

(Dunkiel) “The significance of it today is that the long-term effort by federal Highway Administration and V-Trans to build the Circ based on an old, defective EIS seems to be concluded. And now everyone can be focused on the new EIS process that was initiated a couple of years ago.”

(Host) Lunderville says the environmental impact statement now being prepared is the most comprehensive document of its kind ever assembled in Vermont. He said it should be completed within the next couple of months.

Dunkiel said the alternatives under consideration include two proposals advanced by the Smart Growth Collaborative.

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