Transportation

When it comes to rail traffic in Vermont, hazardous materials data is hard to get

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The Lac Megantic catastrophe raises questions about the agencies charged with keeping track of hazardous materials shipped by rail. In Vermont, the state remains largely in the dark.

State seeks online system for motor vehicle inspections

The state is moving ahead with plans to collect all vehicle inspection data online. Photo by Tom Brown/VTDigger

Paper forms will be eliminated for service technicians who perform inspections. Project could take up to 2 years.

F-35 supporter believes petitions should be included in gauging public opinion

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After acknowledging an error in revised EIS, Air Force contractor clarifies how signatures are used.

Legislative Wrap-up: Transportation

Advocates and supporters celebrate outside the Statehouse as the House votes to extend driving rights to undocumented farm workers, on May 7, 2013. Photo by Nat Rudarakanchana

The Legislature raised the gas tax by 6 cents per gallon to avoid losing $60 million in federal transportation funds. And undocumented farmworkers in Vermont gained the right to obtain driving privilege cards.

Driver’s license debate still packs last-minute controversies

Undocumented dairy farm workers and advocates look on as the Vermont House debates extending driving rights to their community, on May 6, 2013. Photo by Nat Rudarakanchana

Reps. Duncan Kilmartin, R/D-Newport, and Kurt Wright, R-Burlington, said identity fraud and national security concerns prompted their opposition.

Shumlin-brokered compromise transportation package breezes by House and Senate in same day

Agency of Transportation worker

Once the governor signs the bill, the new tax will go into effect by May 1.

Senate backs gas and diesel tax hike, calling it necessary evil

Sen. Richard Mazza, D-Chittenden-Grand Isle, chairs the Senate Transportation Committee. Photo by Roger Crowley

In a 23-5 vote, Vermont Senate approves 7.5 cent per gallon tax on gas Friday; tax set to take effect on May 1.

Trucking firms plead for moderation in diesel tax increase

Photo of plow truck by Will Merydith

Part of the reason for raising the diesel tax, explained Senate Transportation member Sen. Richard Westman, R-Lamoille, is to balance the tax burden broadly and fairly among all users of the state’s transportation infrastructure.

FEMA grants funding eligibility for culvert replacement in Townshend

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The staff of state and federal lawmakers stressed that the decision to make the project eligible as a “406 hazard mitigation measure” applies only to this one appeal for Townshend.

Margolis: “Prius Tax,” rebuffed in the House, has support in the Senate

Sen. Richard Mazza, D-Chittenden-Grand Isle, chairs the Senate Transportation Committee. Photo by Roger Crowley

Sen. Richard Mazza, the Democrat who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, also said he was “interested in it, because we have to be interested in it.”

Vermont House backs gas tax rise despite Republican objections

A bunch of lawmakers surround Majority Leader Willem Jewett, as opponents of a gas tax try to enter a petition into the record on Wednesday, March 20,2013. Photo by Nat Rudarakanchana

Overall, Vermonters will see a 7.5 cent increase in gas taxes, by 2014, with the first phase of the tax coming this May.

CNN’s Vermont rail story went way on the wrong track

Full service for the Vermonter resumed over the weekend as work was completed on a $74 million upgrade to 190 miles of the New England Central Railroad’s line between Northfield, Mass., and St. Albans. Photo by Mark Beeson.

AOT Secretary Brian Searles said he “had extensive conversations (with CNN staff) over time and on that day. They came here with an agenda to attack the high speed rail program.”

Transportation funding gap widens as gas tax revenues weaken

Secretary of Transportation Brian Searles speaking before members of the Vermont House and Senate on Wednesday. VTD/Josh Larkin

This year alone Vermont will see a roughly $30 million gap in state transportation revenues.

State transportation budget faces $250 million annual funding shortfall

Secretary of Transportation Brian Searles speaking before members of the Vermont House and Senate on Wednesday. VTD/Josh Larkin

“For the state to solve this problem [alone], we’d have to more than double what Vermonters are currently paying through a variety of sources – taxes and fees – to fund the transportation system. That’s simply not realistic,” Searles said.

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