Transportation

VPR/Peter Hirschfeld

It’s being called the fiscal sinkhole. And it could be coming to a road near you.

In his budget address last week, Gov. Peter Shumlin unveiled a plan for record-setting transportation spending. But partisan politics in Washington, D.C., could soon threaten some of that money.

The problem is in the Federal Highway Trust Fund, a multi-billion dollar pot of money that accounts for about half of Vermont’s annual road budget. And it’s going to run dry in September unless Congress votes to fill it back up.

City of Montpelier

Montpelier officials announced a land purchase yesterday that will bring the city closer to its planned "Multi-Modal Transit Center" near the Statehouse and the Department of Motor Vehicles Building.

The city purchased a long-empty surface lot from Alan Carr, who was previously renting the property to the State of Vermont, for $1.4 million.

"Acquiring these properties is a critical step in redeveloping this important part of Montpelier," said Mayor John Hollar in a news release.

The Vermont Transportation Board will hold six public hearings this fall to gather public comment about transportation-related issues that face the state.

Topics to be covered are transportation revenues and energy; bike pedestrian Issues; the future of freight and passenger rail services; park and ride expansion; roadway safety; and public transit, Intercity service and service for the elderly.

Associated Press

An annual bike event in Shoreham two Sundays ago was marred by an alleged drunk driver who plowed into a group of cyclists, critically injuring two of them.

The incident on route 74 during the Tour De Farms bike ride, which featured more than 600 riders, angered and saddened but also galvanized Vermont’s cycling community, and we’re getting a gauge today on how cycling enthusiasts are feeling about the overall level of bike safety in Vermont.

The City of Montpelier has big plans for the lot at 1 Taylor Street, where the old Vermont Transit bus station used to be. Plans call for a multi-modal transportation center, a welcome center, a bike and pedestrian path, and public access to the Winooski River. The city has secured partial funding for the project through the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration. One thing the city did not have, up until this point, was the land.

VPR/Charlotte Albright

Motorists Beware. Route 4, between Interstate 89 and Woodstock,  has seen three serious collisions over the past few months, claiming four lives.

Upper Valley residents say the road  is becoming more dangerous as drivers fail to pay attention to its sharp  curves and narrow lanes.

The latest victim of a Route 4 head-on collision was 72-year-old Ingrid Neuwirt. Police believe her car crossed the center line of the highway near the Interstate ramp, but they are still trying to figure out why.

VPR/Kirk Carapezza

On Wednesday morning, at the Sunoco station off Route 2 in Montpelier, Bob Grant of Plainfield was filling up his black Chevy truck and two red canisters.

“This is for my garden tractor,” Grant said, pointing to the canisters. “I’m retired but I have a lot of gardens, a lot of lawn.”

The retired grocery store owner stared at the pump as his total climbed higher – above $60. And as his tank topped off, Grant said he would gladly pay the new 5.9 cent per gallon gas tax increase that went into effect on Wednesday in Vermont.

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