CLF calls for moratorium on new transportation projects

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(Host) The Conservation Law Foundation is calling on the Douglas administration to impose a moratorium on all new highway construction in Vermont until the state’s existing transportation infrastructure has been repaired.

Speaking Tuesday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, CLF senior attorney Mark Sinclair said the state can’t afford to maintain a network of critical roads and bridges and proceed with several large new construction projects. Sinclair says the moratorium strategy has been successful in a number of northeast states:

(Sinclair) “In your own life, if you’ve got a house you don’t build a large addition if your house has got a leaky roof. We’ve got to set priorities and maintaining the Interstate, I say, is the highest priority. And if you look at the projects, such as the Circumferential Highway and the Bennington Bypass, I don’t believe those projects meet a cost-benefit test.”

(Host) Transportation Secretary Pat McDonald says she can’t support the moratorium because the Douglas administration is committed to the completion of the Bennington Bypass and the Circumferential Highway in Chittenden County:

(McDonald) “Because these projects have been on the books for so lon,g there have been some major land use decisions and traffic flow decisions and concepts that have been put in place because these projects are coming. And if things were to change in those projects, we’d really need to then back up and take a serious look at then, how do you fix the issues that are now out there? These projects are incredibly important to us. We feel that they need to be built.”

(Host) McDonald says her agency is in the process of drafting a 10-year transportation plan for lawmakers to review next January. She says it’s a proposal that will measure the state’s overall transportation priorities and the level of revenue that will be needed to address these needs.

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