Fund shortfall means highway project delays

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(Host) The state Transportation Agency says it will have to delay some highway projects because of a 10 and a half million dollar shortfall in the Transportation Fund.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) The state’s Transportation Fund hasn’t done well in recent years. Revenues have not kept pace with the budget demands of a growing list of highway and bridge projects.

So last spring, the Legislature told the Transportation Agency to come up with a list of projects that could be delayed or cancelled if the funding situation got worse.

Neale Lunderville is Transportation Secretary.

(Lunderville) “We’ve spent the last couple of months going through our budget and finding areas that met our three goals: one, to preserve our federal funding, two, to avoid unnecessary delays in project, and three, to not put any additional burden on municipalities.”

(Dillon) The Transportation Agency will get an immediate infusion of $3.5 million, thanks to an appropriation the Legislature made last spring.

Lunderville has proposed a number of incremental steps to make up the difference, including savings of more than $2 million by delaying highway, rail and aviation projects.

A list supplied to the Legislature includes delays for Interstate bridge work in Berlin, Guilford and Putney.

But Lunderville says some of the work is already behind schedule.

(Lunderville) “Most of the projects that are going to be delayed would have been delayed would have been delayed anyway. Projects move kind of backwards and forwards depending on whether a right of way has been acquired or permitting has been done.”

(Dillon) On Tuesday, Lunderville will present the plans in more detail to members of the Joint Fiscal Committee and the House and Senate Transportation Committees.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon.

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