View the complete text of this act

Act No. 50

(H.438)

Transportation; transportation program

This act:

(1) Authorizes the secretary of transportation to obligate and expend funds received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The authorization extends to projects set forth in the document titled "VT Agency of Transportation - Proposed ARRA Project Plan" dated May 6, 2009, to eligible town highway paving projects, to eligible town highway structures projects, and other uses as approved by the joint transportation oversight committee (JTOC). The agency of transportation shall report on the obligation and expenditure of ARRA funds to the JTOC through 2009.

(2) Directs the agency of transportation to apply for a grant of rail infrastructure discretionary ARRA monies to fund the upgrading of the state's western rail corridor to provide passenger rail service between Burlington, Rutland, and Bennington, Vermont and Albany, New York. The act also directs the agency to prepare a plan to establish this service.

(3) Provides that the state treasurer may issue tax-exempt transportation infrastructure bonds (TIBs) for the purpose of funding the rehabilitation, reconstruction, or replacement of state and municipal bridges and culverts, and state roads, railroads, airports, and associated infrastructure having a remaining useful life of 30 years or more. The act sets forth the uses of the bonds, how and in what form the bonds will be issued, and how the bonds will be secured.

(4) Requires the agency of transportation, by January 15, 2010, to submit to the JTOC a plan for using TIB proceeds in fiscal years 2011, 2012, and 2013, and limits bonding authority for that three-year period to $100,000,000.00.

(5) Authorizes the state treasurer to issue TIBs for fiscal year 2010 in the amount of no more than $10,000,000.00, to be issued upon agency of transportation request and JTOC approval.

(6) Establishes motor fuel transportation infrastructure assessments, comprising a $0.03 assessment per gallon of diesel fuel sold or used, and a per-gallon assessment on gasoline in the amount of two percent of the retail price exclusive of all federal and state taxes. The retail price shall be based on quarterly price averages, and shall be determined and published by the department of public service. Certain users are exempt from paying the assessment.

(7) Creates the TIB fund within the transportation fund to consist of monies raised from the motor fuel transportation infrastructure assessments. Monies from the TIB fund may be used to pay debt service on the TIBs authorized by this act, to pay for certain transportation infrastructure projects having an estimated useful life of at least 10 years, and to pay associated operating costs. The act gives the capital debt affordability advisory committee the authority to conduct ongoing reviews of the amount and condition of the TIB fund, and of the underlying TIBs.

(8) Requires municipalities to satisfy local match requirements for projects bearing such requirements under state law regardless of the state's use of ARRA monies to fund the projects. The act also authorizes a municipality to use a grant awarded under the town highway structures program or the class 2 town highway roadway program as matching funds for grants to towns under ARRA.

(9) Directs the agency of transportation, in consultation with the joint fiscal office, to conduct a study of alternatives for the replacement of passenger rail equipment for the Amtrak Vermonter and Ethan Allen lines, and to deliver a report of the study to the senate and house committees on transportation by January 15, 2010.

(10) Modifies prior authority to convey state-owned railroad property to a particular party to include an assignee of that party, and extends the deadline for making the conveyance from June 30, 2009 to December 31, 2009.

(11) Approves the cancellation of the following transportation projects: Albany BRO 1449(23); Chester BRO 1442(31); Richford TH3 0305; Woodstock BRO 1444(33); and Irasburg STP WALK(16). In all of the above instances, the applicable towns had requested termination.

(12) Provides that proceeds from the sale of surplus property attributable to the agency of transportation shall be transferred to the transportation fund.

(13) Provides that the state shall enter into an agreement with the Village of Essex Junction to relinquish to the village's jurisdiction a segment of Vermont Route 15 within the village.

(14) Requires the agency of transportation to provide each town with a map of all highways within that town, together with the mileage of each class 1, 2, 3, and 4 highway, and each trail.

(15) Requires a municipal body seeking to discontinue a town highway that is not clearly observable to notify the secretary of transportation at least 30 days prior to the public informational hearings held for that purpose.

(16) Permits the traffic committee to require the use of tire chains or winter tires by motor coaches, truck-tractor-semitrailer combinations, and truck-tractor-trailer combinations on specified portions of state highways during the winter, upon advance notice, signage, and the development of designated areas for affixing chains.

(17) Requires the agency of transportation to amend its public transit plan at least every five years, upon consultation with public transit providers, the metropolitan planning organization, and the regional planning commissions (RPCs) and their transportation advisory committees. The act also requires the agency to consult annually with the RPCs and public transit providers to identify planning needs prior to the award of planning funds. The agency shall report annually to the general assembly regarding planning needs, expenditures, and cooperative planning efforts.

(18) Clarifies the application of registration fees to local transit service buses and motor buses owned by the state or by a municipality.

(19) Directs that, from the funds allocated to the public transit general capital program, the agency of transportation shall hold $100,000.00 in reserve to cover shortfalls in the funding of the program for elders and persons with disabilities. The act also directs the agency to develop a written policy to govern the disbursement of the reserve funds.

(20) Defines the terms "public transportation service bus" and "local transit bus."

(21) Exempts nonprofit public transit service providers from diesel tax.

(22) Directs the agency of transportation to follow up on its two most recent public-transit-related legislative reports and generate recommendations for improving the efficient and effective delivery of public transit services in the state. The agency shall present a report setting forth the recommendations and underlying analyses on or before February 15, 2010.

(23) Extends the ability of the Vermont ATV sportsman's association (VASA) to develop and maintain its statewide ATV trail program to public land.

(24) Requires a registered ATV to display a valid VASA trail access decal when operating on a VASA trail or on private land on which VASA or a VASA-affiliated club has express consent to operate.

(25) Amends the definition of "ATV" to include nonhighway recreational vehicles having two low pressure tires and full-time power to both wheels.

(26) Requires the commissioner of motor vehicles to issue one validating sticker upon vehicle registration, to be affixed to the rear registration plate.

(27) Permits vehicles registered to state agencies to have conservation fund and building bright spaces for bright futures fund registration plates.

(28) Enables the agency of transportation to use design-build contracting to deliver projects, and establishes parameters for such contracting. The act limits the agency to four design-build projects in fiscal year 2010, and requires fiscal year 2010 design-build projects to include signage identifying the project and its total cost. After fiscal year 2010, the signage requirement is applied to all bonded bridge projects.

(29) Provides that the JTOC shall be chaired alternately by the chairs of the senate and house committees on transportation for two-year terms, with the chair of the senate committee on transportation holding the JTOC chair for the current legislative session.

(30) Amends the definition of "highways" to exclude state forest highways, management roads, easements, or rights-of-way owned by or under the control of the agency of natural resources, the department of forests, parks and recreation, the department of fish and wildlife, or the department of environmental conservation. The act also establishes the definitions of "management road" and "state forest highway," and amends the definition of "town highways" to include class 1, 2, 3, and 4 highways that the towns have authority to maintain exclusively or cooperatively.

(31) Transfers surplus funds from the unorganized towns of Glastenbury and Somerset, in the total amount of $362,832, and deposits these monies into the transportation fund.

(32) Provides that the state tax in unorganized towns and gores shall be based upon these entities' grand lists. The act also provides that the supervisors of the unorganized towns of Glastenbury and Somerset shall present to the commissioner of taxes for approval their proposed budget and tax rate for the town for the ensuing year. The act also authorizes the supervisors of unorganized towns and gores to carry forward in their accounts any unexpended tax monies.

(33) Provides that landowners shall be immune from liability for personal injury or property damage occurring on sidewalks constructed on their property, absent negligent, reckless, or willful acts on the part of the landowner.

(34) Permits the display of "year of manufacture" registration plates on motor vehicles manufactured prior to 1939 so long as current registration plates are maintained within the vehicle.

(35) Requires the agency of transportation, by January 15, 2010, to submit to the senate and house committees on transportation a report regarding the agency's inventory of aviation maintenance equipment.

(36) Modifies the transportation buildings program and authorizes the sale of a parcel of agency property as part of a facility renovation project.

(37) Directs the agency of transportation, the Chittenden County metropolitan planning organization, and other affected local jurisdictions and project partners to undertake a pilot project to explore the implementation of a program to improve access to the Burlington International Airport.

(38) Directs the traffic committee, when establishing a maximum speed limit on a state highway contiguous to a school, to consider data collected under the Vermont Safe Routes to School program.

(39) Provides that a special examination given by the commissioner of motor vehicles shall consist of a driving test and, only when extenuating circumstances exist as determined by the commissioner, a written or oral examination.

(40) Regarding motor vehicles with trailers or semtrailers, lessens the acceptable distance between the kingpin of a semitrailer to the center of the rearmost axle group to 41 feet. The act also provides that vehicles with trailers or semitrailers may operate without a permit if the overall vehicle length does not exceed 75 feet. For such vehicles over 75 feet in length on which the distance from the steering axle to the rearmost tractor axle is more than 25 feet, a permit may be requested from the commissioner.

(41) Directs the transportation enhancement grant committee to conduct a separate grant round before June 30, 2009 and in that grant round award grants for fiscal year 2010 in the amount of federal funds made available to the state under ARRA. Available grant monies that are not awarded pursuant to the separate grant round shall be carried over to the fiscal year 2010 enhancement grant program. The act also enumerates specific enhancement projects to be added to the program development - bike and pedestrian facilities - candidates list.

(42) Provides for a second enhancement grant round in fiscal year 2010, utilizing non-ARRA funds.

(43) Directs the secretary of transportation to request from the Federal Highway Administration a waiver from the statutory prohibition of commercial establishments operating at rest areas along the interstate highway system. The act also directs the secretary to seek the assistance of the state's congressional delegation for the purpose of securing the waiver.

(44) Directs state agencies to provide justification for reducing services to the public. The act also provides for the closure of highway rest area facilities on Interstate 89 at Highgate, Sharon South, and Randolph North, and on Interstate 91 at Hartford North, effective July 1, 2009. The act also directs the agency of transportation to explore alternate uses for these facilities. The act also directs the commissioner of buildings and general services to adjust hours of operation for remaining rest areas, to conduct a pilot project for the operation of additional information centers, and to take steps to plan for and construct a welcome center in Bennington.

(45) Provides for the sale of the "salt shed property" at 575 Stonecutters Way in Montpelier.

(46) Sets forth the following fees:

 

Current Fee
($)

Adjusted Fee
($)

Copy of three-year operating record

10.00

11.00

Initial application - non-driver ID

15.00

17.00

Registration - organization plates

10.00

15.00

Registration - organization plate deposit

1,000.00

2,000.00

     

Registration - conservation plates

20.00

23.00

Duplicate registration certificate

12.00

13.00

Registration - transfer

20.00

22.00

Registration - pleasure car (annual)

59.00

64.00

Registration - pleasure car (biennial)

108.00

120.00

Registration - motorcycle

36.00

40.00

Registration - gas/diesel trucks 6,099 lbs or less

59.00

64.00

Registration - gas/diesel trucks 6,099 to 90,099 lbs

Various

Increase 8.5%

Registration - trailers less than 1,500 lbs

20.00

23.00

Registration - semi-trailers less than 1,500 lbs

40.00

45.00

Registration - trailers 1,500 lbs or more, drawn by pleasure car or by a truck-tractor or motor truck registered under 23 V.S.A. § 367

40.00

46.00

Registration - semi-trailers 1,500 lbs or more, drawn by pleasure car or by a truck-tractor or motor truck registered under 23 V.S.A. § 367

80.00

90.00

Registration - trailers 1,500 to 3,000 lbs, drawn by truck or tractor

40.00

46.00

Registration - semi-trailers 1,500 to 3,000 lbs, drawn by truck or tractor

80.00

90.00

Registration - in-transit permit

3.00

5.00

Operator license - four-year

40.00

45.00

Operator license - two-year

25.00

28.00

Junior Operator license

27.00

28.00

Learner's permit

15.00

17.00

Motorcycle learner's permit

-

17.00

Driver examination - written test

25.00

28.00

Driver examination - road test

15.00

17.00

Reinstatement of suspended or revoked license

65.00

71.00

Inspection certificate

3.00

4.00

Excess weight permit - 99,000-lb limit for unprocessed forest, milk, or quarry products

350.00

500.00

Oversize permits - single trip

70.00

100.00

Oversize blanket permits

1 - 70.00 Addtl - 1.00

1 - 100.00 Addtl - 5.00

Overlength permits - single trip

10.00

25.00

Title certificates - motor vehicles

28.00

31.00

Lien fees - motor vehicles

7.00

9.00

Title certificates - motorboats, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles

15.00

19.00

Lien fees - motorboats, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles

7.00

9.00

Purchase and Use tax - the smaller of six percent of taxable cost or:

1,680.00

1,850.00

Short-term vehicle rental tax

7%

9%

Motor vehicle warranty fee

-

5.00

Registration - snowmobiles, residents

15.00

25.00

Registration - snowmobiles, nonresidents

22.00

32.00

Duplicate registration certificates - snowmobiles

2.00

5.00

Registration - class A motorboat

17.00

22.00

Registration - class 1 motorboat

28.00

33.00

Registration - class 2 motorboat

55.00

60.00

Registration - class 3 motorboat

121.00

126.00

Initial fees - business directional sign or information plaza plaque

75.00

175.00

Renewal fees - business directional sign or information plaza plaque

60.00

125.00

(47) Consistent with the 2006 State Rail & Policy Plan, authorizes the agency of transportation to estimate the total cost of (1) upgrading the western corridor rail line for passenger rail service to and from Burlington, Rutland, Bennington, and Albany, New York; (2) operating a passenger rail service from Burlington to Rutland connecting to Whitehall, New York; and (3) operating a passenger rail service from Burlington to Rutland to Bennington connecting to Albany, New York. The agency shall present its analysis to the senate and house committees on transportation by January 15, 2010.

Date Signed by the Governor: May 29, 2009

Effective Dates:

(a) The following sections of this act shall take effect from passage (May 29, 2009, the date on which the governor signed the bill):

(1) Secs. 3, 21 (ARRA funds).

(2) Sec. 111 (sale of salt shed in Montpelier).

(3) Secs. 103, 104 (enhancement grants).

(4) Secs. 66, 67 (sale of surplus rail property).

(5) Sec. 101 (commissioner of DMV administering special exam).

(b) Secs. 24-28, 30-32 (motor fuels transportation infrastructure assessments and bond fund) shall take effect on June 1, 2009.

(c) Secs. 22 and 23 (motor fuels infrastructure assessments) shall take effect on October 1, 2009.

(d) Sec. 77 (exemption of motor buses from diesel tax) shall take effect on July 1, 2010.

(e) All other sections of this act not specifically enumerated in this section shall take effect on July 1, 2009.

Fiscal Summary

FY10 Transportation Program

FY10 H.438

Administration-finance-planning

 

Central Admin & Finance

12,509,399

Policy & Planning

10,293,841

Transportation Board

86,891

Department of Motor Vehicles

25,080,315

Subtotal

47,970,446

Facilities

 

Rest Areas

2,950,000

AOT Buildings

1,311,500

Subtotal

4,261,500

Alternate modes

 

Public Transit

26,259,839

Aviation

21,642,075

Pedestrian & Bike Facilities

6,800,571

Park & Ride

4,270,783

Multi-Modal Facilities

0

Rail infrastructure

16,645,924

Amtrak

3,750,000

Subtotal

79,369,192

Highway Infrastructure

 

Maintenance

66,318,309

Paving

118,424,718

Roadway

60,423,774

State bridges

26,342,300

Interstate bridges

7,448,500

Town bridges

26,069,416

Bridge Maintenance Program

34,051,340

Traffic Operations

23,835,344

PD Admin & Tech Services

14,757,355

Subtotal

377,671,056

Town programs

 

TH Aid

24,982,744

TH Class 2

5,748,750

TH Structures

3,833,500

TH Class 1 supplemental grants

128,750

Enhancements

3,439,446

TH Emergency fund

750,000

FEMA grant program

200,000

TH VT Local Roads

375,000

Clean & Clear grant program

2,112,998

Subtotal

41,571,188

Bonding TBD

0

ARRA funds

0

General Prog. Dev cut

0

Vacancy savings

-1,400,000

Total All Programs

549,443,382