Transportation

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This year's long winter was especially tough for those who don't have somewhere warm to call their own. Vermont's mix of cities, towns and rural areas posed unique problems for the homeless here, and for the people trying to help them. 

Toby Talbot / AP/file

A significant hurdle to the resumption of Amtrak rail service through Vermont to Montreal was cleared Monday when the United States and Canada signed an agreement allowing the creation of a U.S. Customs facility in Montreal.  

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Vermont's Transportation Fund, which pays for both road repairs and new highway projects, faces two major threats.

The first is a projected $6.6 million shortfall of state revenue. The second is possible changes to the Federal Highway Trust Fund that could delay dozens of projects in the state this summer.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Vermonters who have unpaid traffic tickets may be in luck. This Friday only, the state will grant partial amnesty for people who've lost their driver's licenses due to unpaid traffic fines.

Jon Kalish / VPR

On a recent weekend, dozens of vintage snowmobiles were on display in a farm field in Bethel. To qualify as vintage, they had to be made no later than the early 1980s –  but a couple of them dated back to the 1920s.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Congressman Peter Welch says he'll support a 12-cent increase in the federal gasoline tax as a way to provide long-term stability for the nation's Highway Trust Fund, which will run out of money by the middle of May if Congress doesn't act.

Welch says he’ll oppose any short-term solutions to this issue. If the Highway Trust Fund runs dry, thousands of road and bridge projects across the country and dozens in Vermont will be severely cut back.

The arch truss bridge on I-91 that’s been spanning the West River since the late 1950’s was once state-of-the-art but has become functionally obsolete. A new bridge of balanced cantilevered construction is going up in its place.

The storm has left mounds of ice, heaps of slush, with bare patches in between. It more than justifies the ‘hazardous’ warning for driving, walking and generally any outdoors activity. So in White River Junction, I’m glad to get onto the train, where it feels warm, cozy, and downright normal.

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According to a new Transportation Board report, the state will need to improve its transportation services to keep more young adults in Vermont.

Steve Zind / VPR

It’s clear lawmakers have been hearing from constituents about the wide disparity in gas prices in Vermont – especially higher prices in the Burlington area – and the fact the average price of a gallon gas statewide is currently about 40 cents above the national mark. 

Why and what can be done about it wasn’t so clear, as lawmakers heard from a testimony during a public hearing at the State House on Thursday.

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Highway deaths in Vermont were at the lowest level in more than 50 years in 2014, officials announced Tuesday.

There were 43 deaths on Vermont highways last year, according to new information released by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

That number is well below the average of 69 deaths annually over the previous five years, but officials aren’t satisfied.

“What we look at is, ask the question, ‘How many fatalities would be acceptable amongst your family and friends?’” says Kevin Marshia, the chairman of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance. “That number is zero.”

Vermont Agency of Transportation / YouTube

Does your 2015 New Year's resolution involve going on a diet and engaging in a more active lifestyle? If so, you have something in common with Route 302 in Berlin, better known as the Barre-Montpelier Road.

The Agency of Transportation has experienced some mild sticker shock for road and bridge projects this year. And the high cost of materials has contributed to a $16 million overrun.

It isn’t unusual for road and bridge projects to come in over budget. And Secretary of Transportation Brian Searles says the higher-than-expected costs for this year’s capital program are well within the norm.

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More than 46 million Americans are expected to travel some distance to get to Thanksgiving dinner this week. That's the most since before the great recession. And while the traffic and weather may not be cooperating, at least gas prices are down.


Toby Talbot / AP file

Ridership on Amtrak’s Vermonter is at its highest level ever.

Vermont rail officials say track improvements have cut travel time to New York, which has helped attract riders. There are also plans to restore service to Montreal.

Sojourn Bicycling Vacations / AP

What state roads do you like to bike? What state roads would you bicycle, if the route were improved for cycling traffic? Those are the first questions the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) is asking the public as it begins crafting the state's first on-road  bicycle plan.

Angela Evancie / VPR File Photo

Vermont police have written more than 100 tickets under the state’s new law banning the use of handheld electronics while operating a motor vehicle, according to data from the Vermont Judicial Bureau.

Critics of the law said it would be difficult for officers to enforce it because it requires them to be able to see into vehicles and notice that a driver is holding a cell phone or other device.

The Button Up Day of Action encourages Vermonters to weatherize their homes. A new bridge and an alternative truck route make getting around easier in Bristol and Morrisville. Winooski aims for city-wide mindfulness.

The Vermont Agency of Transportation has reversed a decision to close the Morrisville Bypass to non-motorized uses, at least until the agency's Traffic Committee meets in December to discuss the issue.

The two-mile bypass, also known as the Alternative Truck Route, opens to traffic at 2 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. And now "traffic" will mean cars and trucks and bicycles and pedestrians. 

John Locher / AP

Earlier this month, the rideshare service Uber appeared in Burlington. Uber is an app-based service that allows passengers to use mobile and other devices to call for a ride when they need one. 

But last week, Burlington’s city attorney announced that Uber and its drivers were in violation of city law.  That’s not new for Uber, which has faced regulatory challenges nearly everywhere it operates.

Mike Isaac, technology reporter for the New York Times, spoke with Vermont Edition about the roadblocks Uber has faced in other markets.

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