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The Vermont Statutes Online

The statutes were updated in November, 2018, and contain all actions of the
2018 legislative session.

Title 19: Highways

Chapter 003: TOWN HIGHWAYS

  • § 301. Definitions

    As used in this chapter:

    (1) "Discontinued highway" means a previously designated class 1, 2, 3, or 4 town highway as to which, through the process of discontinuance, all rights have been reconveyed to the adjoining landowners.

    (2) "Legislative body" includes board of selectmen, aldermen, and village trustees.

    (3) "Selectmen" includes village trustees and aldermen.

    (4) "Pent road" is any town highway which, by written allowance of the selectmen, is enclosed and occupied by the adjoining landowner with unlocked stiles, gates, and bars in such places as the selectmen designate.

    (5) "Throughway" means a highway specially designated giving traffic traveling on the throughway the right-of-way at all intersections.

    (6) "Town" includes incorporated villages and cities.

    (7) "Town highways" are class 1, 2, 3, and 4 highways:

    (A) that the towns have authority to exclusively or cooperatively maintain; or

    (B) that are maintained by the towns except for scheduled surface maintenance performed by the Agency pursuant to section 306a of this title.

    (8) "Trail" means a public right-of-way which is not a highway and which:

    (A) previously was a designated town highway having the same width as the designated town highway, or a lesser width if so designated; or

    (B) a new public right-of-way laid out as a trail by the selectmen for the purpose of providing access to abutting properties or for recreational use. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to independently authorize the condemnation of land for recreational purposes or to affect the authority of selectmen to reasonably regulate the uses of recreational trails. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1991, No. 47, § 1; 2009, No. 50, § 89.)

  • § 302. Classification of town highways

    (a) For the purposes of this section and receiving State aid, all town highways shall be categorized into one or another of the following classes:

    (1) Class 1 town highways are those town highways which form the extension of a state highway route and which carry a State highway route number. The Agency shall determine which highways are to be class 1 highways.

    (2) Class 2 town highways are those town highways selected as the most important highways in each town. As far as practicable they shall be selected with the purposes of securing trunk lines of improved highways from town to town and to places which by their nature have more than normal amount of traffic. The selectmen, with the approval of the Agency, shall determine which highways are to be class 2 highways.

    (3) Class 3 town highways:

    (A) Class 3 town highways are all traveled town highways other than class 1 or 2 highways. The selectmen, after conference with a representative of the Agency shall determine which highways are class 3 town highways.

    (B) The minimum standards for class 3 highways are a highway negotiable under normal conditions all seasons of the year by a standard manufactured pleasure car. This would include but not be limited to sufficient surface and base, adequate drainage, and sufficient width capable to provide winter maintenance, except that based on safety considerations for the traveling public and municipal employees, the selectboard shall, by rule adopted under 24 V.S.A. chapter 59, and after following the process for providing notice and hearing in section 709 of this title, have authority to determine whether a class 3 highway, or section of highway, should be plowed and made negotiable during the winter. However, a property owner aggrieved by a decision of the selectboard may appeal to the transportation board pursuant to subdivision 5(d)(9) of this title.

    (C) A highway not meeting these standards may be reclassified as a provisional class 3 highway if within five years of the determination, it will meet all class 3 highway standards.

    (4) Class 4 town highways are all town highways that are not class 1, 2, or 3 town highways or unidentified corridors. The selectboard shall determine which highways are class 4 town highways.

    (5) Trails shall not be considered highways and the town shall not be responsible for any maintenance including culverts and bridges.

    (6) Unidentified corridors.

    (A) Unidentified corridors are town highways that:

    (i) have been laid out as highways by proper authority through the process provided by law at the time they were created or by dedication and acceptance; and

    (ii) do not, as of July 1, 2010, appear on the town highway map prepared pursuant to section 305 of this title; and

    (iii) are not otherwise clearly observable by physical evidence of their use as a highway or trail; and

    (iv) are not legal trails.

    (B) If the conditions in subdivisions (A)(i) and (A)(ii) of this subdivision (6) are met, the legislative body of a municipality or its appointee may, after providing 14 days' advance written notice to the owners of the land upon which the unidentified corridor is located, enter private property to determine whether clearly observable physical evidence exists.

    (C) Unidentified corridors shall be open to use by the public, but only in the same manner as they were used during the 10 years prior to January 1, 2006.

    (D) A municipality shall not be responsible for maintenance of an unidentified corridor.

    (E) Neither the municipality nor any person owning a legal interest in land through which an unidentified corridor may pass or abut shall have a duty of care to persons using the corridor.

    (F) An unidentified corridor shall not be deemed to be a subdivision with respect to zoning, tax, and septic issues.

    (G) After July 1, 2015, an unidentified corridor shall be discontinued, and the right-of-way shall belong to the owner of the adjoining land. If the right-of-way is located between the lands of two different owners, it shall be returned to the lots to which it originally belonged, if they can be determined; if not, it shall be equally divided between the owners of the lands on each side.

    (H) An unidentified corridor shall not create a subdivision with respect to zoning, tax, and septic issues. If the unidentified corridor is reclassified as a class 1, 2, 3, or 4 highway or as a trail, the then- highway or trail shall be recognized as any other highway or trail for the purpose of creating a subdivision with respect to zoning, tax, and septic issues.

    (7) Reclassification of unidentified corridors. On or by July 1, 2015 and pursuant to subchapter 2 of chapter 7 of this title, an unidentified corridor may be reclassified as a class 1, 2, 3, or 4 highway or as a trail.

    (b) The Agency may require any municipality which fails to comply with the class 3 provisional commitments to return all state aid generated by the section or sections of highways involved. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 246 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 19; 1999, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 27, eff. May 29, 2000; 2005, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2007, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 303. Town highway control

    Town highways shall be under the general supervision and control of the selectmen of the town where the roads are located. Selectmen shall supervise all expenditures. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 304. Duties of selectmen

    (a) It shall be the duty and responsibility of the selectboard of the town to, or acting as a Board, it shall have the authority to:

    (1) see that town highways and bridges are properly laid out, constructed, maintained, altered, widened, vacated, discontinued, and operated, when the safety of the public requires, in accordance with the provisions of this title;

    (2) take any action consistent with the provisions of law, including determinations made pursuant to subdivision 302(a)(3)(B) or subsection 310(a) of this title, which are necessary for or incidental to the proper management and administration of town highways;

    (3) purchase tools, equipment, and materials necessary for the construction, maintenance, or repair of highways and bridges, and to incur indebtedness from the municipal equipment loan fund as established in 29 V.S.A. § 1601 for these purchases. It may contract with governmental or private agencies for the use of tools, equipment, road building material, and services;

    (4) order hills graded, surfaces graveled, or treated with a dust layer, or surface treated with bituminous material, upon any town highway either laid out by them or already existing;

    (5) grant permission to enclose pent roads and trails by the owner of the land during any part of the year, by erecting stiles, unlocked gates, and bars in the places designated and to make regulations governing the use of pent roads and trails and to establish penalties not to exceed $50.00, for noncompliance. Permission shall be in writing and recorded in the town Clerk's office;

    (6) make special regulations as to the operation, use, and parking of motor vehicles on highways under their jurisdiction, as provided in Title 23;

    (7) make special regulations as to the speed of motor vehicles using the highways under their jurisdiction, as provided in Title 23;

    (8) lay out winter roads and lumber roads pursuant to chapter 9 of this title;

    (9) change the course of a stream, pursuant to chapter 9 of this title;

    (10) erect embankment on stream, pursuant to chapter 9 of this title;

    (11) construct a watercourse, drain, or ditch from a highway across lands of any person, pursuant to chapter 9 of this title;

    (12) lay out, alter, classify, and discontinue town highways, pursuant to chapter 7 of this title;

    (13) forward the town's annual plan for the construction and maintenance of town highways to the agency of transportation;

    (14) keep accurate accounts, showing in detail all moneys received by them including from whom and when received and all moneys paid out by them, to whom and for what purpose, and settle the accounts with auditors not less than 25 days before the annual meeting;

    (15) receive grant funds and gifts from public and private sources;

    (16) unless the town electorate votes otherwise, under the provisions of 17 V.S.A. § 2646, appoint a Road Commissioner, or remove him or her from office, pursuant to 17 V.S.A. § 2651. Road Commissioners, elected or appointed, shall have only the powers and authority regarding highways granted to them by the selectmen;

    (17) number houses and name highways if desired;

    (18) participate in cooperative purchasing arrangements with the state or other municipalities;

    (19) prepare a transportation plan and capital budget for transportation for voter approval;

    (20) retain staff and consultant assistance if needed in carrying out duties and powers;

    (21) issue permits for work in highway rights-of-way pursuant to 19 V.S.A. chapter 11;

    (22) regulate the location and relocation of utility wires and poles pursuant to 30 V.S.A. chapter 71; and

    (23) publish and adopt after public hearing(s) road specifications for highways to be built or rebuilt within the town in compliance with applicable statutes.

    (b) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect the rights and powers conferred on incorporated villages and cities by their charters to appoint street commissioners, collect and disburse highway taxes, and repair and maintain highways under their care. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1999, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 28, eff. May 29, 2000; 2001, No. 64, § 21, eff. June 16, 2001.)

  • § 305. Measurement and inspection

    (a) After reasonable notice to the selectboard, a representative of the agency may measure and inspect the class 1, 2, and 3 town highways in each town to verify the accuracy of the records on file with the agency. Upon request, the selectboard or their designee shall be permitted to accompany the representative of the agency during the measurement and inspection. The agency shall notify the town when any highway, or portion of a highway, does not meet the standards for its assigned class. If the town fails, within one year, to restore the highway or portion of the highway to the accepted standard, or to reclassify, or to discontinue, or develop an acceptable schedule for restoring to the accepted standards, the agency for purposes of apportionment under section 306 of this title shall deduct the affected mileage from that assigned to the town for the particular class of the road in question.

    (b) Annually, on or before February 10, the selectboard shall file with the town clerk a sworn statement of the description and measurements of all class 1, 2, 3, and 4 town highways and trails then in existence, including any special designation such as a throughway or scenic highway. When class 1, 2, 3, or 4 town highways, trails, or unidentified corridors are accepted, discontinued, or reclassified, a copy of the proceedings shall be filed in the town clerk's office and a copy shall be forwarded to the agency.

    (c) All class 1, 2, 3, and 4 town highways and trails shall appear on the town highway maps by July 1, 2015.

    (d) At least 45 days prior to first including a town highway or trail that is not clearly observable by physical evidence of its use as a highway or trail and that is legally established prior to February 10, 2006 in the sworn statement required under subsection (b) of this section, the legislative body of the municipality shall provide written notice and an opportunity to be heard at a duly warned meeting of the legislative body to persons owning lands through which a highway or trail passes or abuts.

    (e) The agency shall not accept any change in mileage until the records required to be filed in the town clerk's office by this section are received by the agency. A request by a municipality to the agency for a change in mileage shall include a description of the affected highway or trail, a copy of any surveys of the affected highway or trail, minutes of meetings at which the legislative body took action with respect to the changes, and a current town highway map with the requested deletions and additions sketched on it. A survey shall not be required for class 4 town highways that are legally established prior to February 10, 2006. All records filed with the agency are subject to verification in accordance with subsection (a) of this section.

    (f) The selectboard of any town who are aggrieved by a finding of the agency concerning the measurement, description, or classification of a town highway may appeal to the transportation board by filing a notice of appeal with the executive secretary of the transportation board.

    (g) The agency shall provide each town with a map of all of the highways in that town together with the mileage of each class 1, 2, 3, and 4 highway, as well as each trail, and such other information as the agency deems appropriate.

    (h) Notwithstanding the provisions of subchapter 7 of chapter 7 of this title, on or before July 1, 2010, a municipality's legislative body may vote to discontinue all town highways that are not otherwise clearly observable by physical evidence of their use as a highway or trail and that are not included as such on the sworn certificate of the description and measurement of town highways filed with the town clerk on February 10 of that year pursuant to subsection (b) of this section. For the purposes of this section, a town highway shall be deemed to be included on the sworn certificate of the description and measurement of town highways if:

    (1) a petition has been filed with the legislative body by persons who are either voters or landowners, and whose number is at least five percent of the voters in a municipality desiring to include that town highway on the sworn certificate of the description and measurement of town highways, prior to the vote taken under this subsection; or

    (2) the legislative body has voted at an annual or special meeting duly warned for the purpose to include that town highway on the sworn certificate of the description and measurement of town highways, prior to the vote taken under this subsection.

    (i)(1) Prior to a vote to discontinue town highways provided in subsection (h) of this section, the legislative body shall hold a public informational hearing on the question by posting warnings at least 30 days prior to the hearing in at least two public places within the municipality and in the town clerk's office. The notice shall include the most recently available map of all town highways prepared by the agency of transportation pursuant to subsection (g) of this section. At least 30 days prior to the hearing, the legislative body shall also deliver the warning and map together with proof of receipt or mail by certified mail, return receipt requested, to each of the following:

    (A) The chair of any municipal planning commission in the municipality;

    (B) The chair of a conservation commission, established under chapter 118 of Title 24, in the municipality;

    (C) The chair of the legislative body of each abutting municipality;

    (D) The executive director of the regional planning commission of the area in which the municipality is located;

    (E) The commissioner of forests, parks and recreation; and

    (F) The secretary of transportation.

    (2) The hearing shall be held within the 10 days preceding the meeting at which the legislative body will vote whether to discontinue all town highways as provided in subsection (h) of this section.

    (j) The legislative body may designate a specific highway or portion thereof proposed to be discontinued as a trail, in which case the right-of-way shall be continued at the width provided for in section 702 of this title. A designation of a highway or portion thereof as a trail under the provisions of this section shall be in writing, setting forth a complete description of the highway or portion thereof so designated. For all highways not designated as a trail and discontinued pursuant to this section, title to the rights-of-way shall belong to the owners of the abutting lands. If the right-of-way is located between the lands of two different owners, it shall be returned to the lots to which it originally belonged, if they can be determined; if not, it shall be equally divided between the owners of the lands on each side. The legislative body shall return a report of its actions to the town clerk's office and the agency of transportation.

    (k) A vote pursuant to subsection (h) of this section may be disapproved by a vote of a majority of the qualified voters of the municipality voting on the question at an annual or special meeting duly warned for the purpose pursuant to a petition that is:

    (1) signed by not less than five percent of the qualified voters of the municipality; and

    (2) presented to the legislative body or the clerk of the municipality within 44 days following the vote taken pursuant to subsection (h) of this section.

    (l) When a petition is submitted in accordance with subsection (k) of this section, the legislative body shall call a special meeting within 60 days from the date of receipt of the petition or include an article in the warning for the next annual meeting of the municipality if the annual meeting falls within the 60-day period to determine whether the voters will disapprove the discontinuance of town highways as provided in subsection (h) of this section.

    (m) No fewer than two copies of a notice that the legislative body has voted to discontinue all town highways as provided in subsection (h) of this section shall be posted at each polling place during the hours of voting, and copies thereof shall be made available to voters at the polls upon request.

    (n) If a petition for an annual or a special meeting is duly submitted in accordance with this section to determine whether the vote of the legislative body to discontinue all town highways as provided in subsection (h) of this section shall be disapproved by the voters of the municipality, the discontinuance shall take effect on the conclusion of the meeting or at such later date as is specified in the discontinuance unless a majority of the qualified voters voting on the question at the meeting vote to disapprove the discontinuance, in which event it shall not take effect. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1995, No. 60, § 21a, eff. April 25, 1995; 2005, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2007, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2009, No. 50, §§ 69, 70.)

  • § 306. Appropriation; State aid for town highways

    (a) General State aid to town highways.

    (1) An annual appropriation to class 1, 2, and 3 town highways shall be made. This appropriation shall increase over the previous fiscal year's appropriation by the same percentage as the following, whichever is less:

    (A) the year-over-year increase in the Agency's total appropriations in the previous fiscal year funded by Transportation Fund revenues, excluding the appropriation for town highways under this subsection (a) for that year; or

    (B) the percentage increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) during the previous State fiscal year.

    (2) If the year-over-year change in appropriations specified in either subdivision (1)(A) or (B) of this subsection is negative, then the appropriation to town highways under this subsection shall be equal to the previous fiscal year's appropriation.

    (3) The funds appropriated shall be distributed to towns as follows:

    (A) Six percent of the State's annual town highway appropriation shall be apportioned to class 1 town highways. The apportionment for each town shall be that town's percentage of class 1 town highways of the total class 1 town highway mileage in the State.

    (B) Forty-four percent of the State's annual town highway appropriation shall be apportioned to class 2 town highways. The apportionment for each town shall be that town's percentage of class 2 town highways of the total class 2 town highway mileage in the State.

    (C) Fifty percent of the State's annual town highway appropriation shall be apportioned to class 3 town highways. The apportionment for each town shall be that town's percentage of class 3 town highways of the total class 3 town highway mileage in the State.

    (D) Monies apportioned under subdivisions (1), (2), and (3) of this subsection shall be distributed to each town in quarterly payments beginning July 15 in each year.

    (E) Each town shall use the monies apportioned to it solely for town highway construction, improvement, and maintenance purposes or as the nonfederal share for public transit assistance. These funds may also be used for the establishment and maintenance of bicycle routes. The members of the selectboard shall be personally liable to the State, in a civil action brought by the Attorney General, for making any unauthorized expenditures from money apportioned to the town under this section.

    (b) Supplemental State aid for multilane class 1 town highways. There shall be an annual appropriation for supplemental aid to municipalities having class 1 town highways with more than two lanes. The Agency shall distribute this aid on the basis of its measurement of the additional class 1 town highway lanes. The Secretary may adopt rules to govern apportionment of supplemental aid.

    (c) State aid for town highway bridges. There shall be an annual appropriation for town bridge engineering services and for aid in maintaining or constructing bridges having a span of six feet or more on class 1, 2, and 3 town highways. Annually the Agency shall expend these funds according to the Transportation Program approved by the General Assembly. With the approval of the Agency, funds may be used for alternatives which eliminate the need for a bridge or bridges, including construction or reconstruction of highways, purchase of parcels of land that would be landlocked by closure of a bridge or bridges, payment of damages for loss of highway access, and substitution of other means of access.

    (d) State aid for nonfederal disasters. There shall be an annual appropriation for emergency aid in repairing, building, or reconstructing class 1, 2, or 3 town highways and for repairing or replacing drainage structures including bridges on class 1, 2, 3, and 4 town highways damaged by natural or man-made disasters. Eligibility for use of emergency aid under this appropriation shall be subject to the following criteria:

    (1) The Secretary of Transportation shall determine that the disaster is of such magnitude that State aid is both reasonable and necessary to preserve the public good. If total cumulative damages to town highways and drainage structures are less than the value of 10 percent of the town's overall total highway budget excluding the town's winter maintenance budget, the disaster shall not qualify for assistance under this subsection.

    (2) The disaster shall not qualify for major disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121 et seq., or from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) under the 23 C.F.R. Part 668 Emergency Relief Program for federal-aid highways.

    (3) Towns shall be eligible for reimbursement for repair or replacement costs of either up to 90 percent of the eligible repair or replacement costs or the eligible repair or replacement costs, minus an amount equal to 10 percent of the overall total highway budget, minus the town's winter maintenance budget, whichever is greater.

    (4) For towns that have adopted road and bridge standards, eligibility for reimbursement for repair or replacement of infrastructure shall be to those standards. For towns that have not adopted these standards, eligibility for reimbursement for repair or replacement of infrastructure shall be limited to the specifications of the infrastructure that preexisted the emergency event; however, the repair or replacement shall be to standards approved by the Agency of Transportation.

    (5) For a drainage structure on a class 4 town highway to be eligible for repair or replacement under this subsection, the town must document that it maintained the structure prior to the nonfederal disaster.

    (6) Such additional criteria as may be adopted by the Agency of Transportation through rulemaking under 3 V.S.A. chapter 25.

    (e) State aid for town highway structures.

    (1) There shall be an annual appropriation for grants to municipalities for maintenance (including actions to extend life expectancy) and for construction of bridges and culverts; for maintenance and construction of other structures, including causeways and retaining walls, intended to preserve the integrity of the traveled portion of class 1, 2, and 3 town highways; and for alternatives that eliminate the need for a bridge, culvert, or other structure, such as the construction or reconstruction of a highway, the purchase of parcels of land that would be landlocked by closure of a bridge, the payment of damages for loss of highway access, and the substitution of other means of access.

    (2) Each fiscal year, the Agency shall approve qualifying projects with a total estimated State share cost of $5,833,500.00 at a minimum as new grants. The Agency's proposed appropriation for the Program shall take into account the estimated amount of qualifying invoices submitted to the Agency with respect to project grants approved in prior years but not yet completed as well as with respect to new project grants to be approved in the fiscal year. In a given fiscal year, should expenditures in the Town Highway Structures Program exceed the amount appropriated, the Agency shall advise the Governor of the need to request a supplemental appropriation from the General Assembly to fund the additional project cost, provided that the Agency has previously committed to completing those projects.

    (3) Funds received as grants for State aid for town highway structures may be used by a municipality to satisfy a portion of the matching requirements for federal earmarks, subject to subsection 309b(c) of this title.

    (f) State aid for federal disasters.

    (1) Towns receiving assistance under the Federal Highway Administration's Emergency Relief Program for federal-aid highways shall be eligible for State aid when a nonfederal match is required. Eligibility for aid under this subsection shall be subject to the following criteria:

    (A) Towns shall be responsible for up to 10 percent of the total eligible project costs.

    (B) For towns that have adopted road and bridge standards, eligibility for reimbursement for repair or replacement of infrastructure shall be to those standards. For towns that have not adopted these standards, eligibility for reimbursement for repair or replacement of infrastructure shall be limited to the specifications of the infrastructure that preexisted the emergency event; however, the repair or replacement shall be to standards approved by the Agency.

    (C) Such additional criteria as may be adopted by the Agency through rulemaking under 3 V.S.A. chapter 25.

    (2) Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 706 and the limits on authorized program spending in an approved Transportation Program, the Secretary may transfer appropriations between the Program created in this subsection and the State Aid for Nonfederal Disasters Program created in subsection (d) of this section.

    (g) [Repealed.]

    (h) Class 2 Town Highway Roadway Program. There shall be an annual appropriation for grants to municipalities for resurfacing, rehabilitation, or reconstruction of paved or unpaved class 2 town highways. Each fiscal year, the Agency shall approve qualifying projects with a total estimated State share cost of $7,648,750.00 at a minimum as new grants. The Agency's proposed appropriation for the Program shall take into account the estimated amount of qualifying invoices submitted to the Agency with respect to project grants approved in prior years but not yet completed as well as with respect to new project grants to be approved in the fiscal year. In a given fiscal year, should expenditures in the Class 2 Town Highway Roadway Program exceed the amount appropriated, the Agency shall advise the Governor of the need to request a supplemental appropriation from the General Assembly to fund the additional project cost, provided that the Agency has previously committed to completing those projects. Funds received as grants for State aid under the Class 2 Town Highway Roadway Program may be used by a municipality to satisfy a portion of the matching requirements for federal earmarks, subject to subsection 309b(c) of this title.

    (i) The Agency shall administer the Municipal Mitigation Assistance Program. Through the Program, the Agency shall provide assistance and grants to municipalities for environmental mitigation projects related to stormwater and highways and for the establishment and operation of stormwater utilities. Municipalities shall match grants with local funds sufficient to cover 20 percent of the project costs, except that the Agency may issue grants for the establishment or operation of stormwater utilities without requiring a local match. From the operating expenses appropriated for the Program, the Agency is authorized to pay costs billed to the Agency by municipal stormwater utilities.

    (j) Annual town plan. Within 60 days of adoption of the town's municipal budget, the selectboard of each town shall forward to the Agency on forms provided by the Agency a plan for the maintenance and construction of all highways under the selectboard's control for the following year. The plan shall be made with the advice of the district transportation administrator. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 246 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 1993, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 12, eff. June 17, 1994; 1995, No. 183 (Adj. Sess.), § 13, eff. May 22, 1996; 1997, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. April 27, 1998; 1999, No. 95 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2001, No. 64, § 13, eff. June 16, 2001; 2001, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 30; 2003, No. 160 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 18, 51, eff. June 9, 2004; 2007, No. 75, §§ 18, 19; 2011, No. 62, § 19; 2011, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 25, eff. May 16, 2012; 2015, No. 40, § 21, eff. June 16, 2015; 2015, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 6, 23; 2017, No. 38, § 10; 2017, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 19.)

  • § 306a. Class 1 town highways; agency responsibility for scheduled surface maintenance

    (a) Unless otherwise directed by the legislative body of a municipality, the agency shall assume direct responsibility for scheduled surface maintenance of all class 1 town highways, at no expense to the municipality. The class 1 town highways shall be included in the agency's pavement management system and analyzed for resurfacing needs and considered for programming of available federal and state funds on the same basis as state highways.

    (b) The provisions of this section shall not affect any legislative body's jurisdiction over class 1 town highways or any municipality's responsibility for general maintenance of class 1 town highways, including, but not limited to, spot patching, traffic control devices, curbs, sidewalks, drainage, and snow removal.

    (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, major reconstruction of class 1 town highways, beyond the usual scope of resurfacing, shall continue to be a municipal responsibility, subject to availability of federal and state aid under chapter 15 of this title and payment of the uniform local share under section 309a of this title. (Added 1993, No. 61, § 11, eff. June 3, 1993; amended 1995, No. 183 (Adj. Sess.), § 18c, eff. May 22, 1996.)

  • § 307. Minimum town budget

    Each town shall annually appropriate a highway budget equivalent to or greater than a sum of at least $300.00 per mile for each mile of class 1, 2, and 3 town highways within the town or it shall not be eligible for aid under this title. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 64, § 14, eff. June 16, 2001.)

  • § 308. Compliance with provisions

    A town shall not be entitled to receive money from the state under this chapter in any year until it has complied with the provisions of this chapter. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 309. Highway work by state for towns

    (a) When requested by the legislative body of a municipality, the agency may, by agreement with these officials, do any construction or maintenance work on any town highway or bridge under the jurisdiction of the legislative body.

    (b) When requested by the legislative body of a municipality, the agency may contract the work. The agency in all such cases shall furnish plans and specifications upon which the contract shall be awarded by the legislative body or, if it has been agreed that the agency should make the contract award, the agency, to the lowest responsible bidder. All work shall be done to the satisfaction of and in accordance with the requirements of the agency.

    (c) Upon demand of the agency, the municipality shall reimburse the state for the municipality's share of expenditures made under this section, and the amount repaid shall be deposited into the state treasury and credited to the fund from which the cost of the work was paid. The agency is authorized to provide for the payment of interest on unpaid balances owed the state for more than 30 days after demand is made.

    (d) To secure reimbursement to the state for the local share of a project, the secretary and the legislative body of a municipality may enter into agreements for the deposit of municipal funds in an interest-bearing escrow account or for posting of a surety bond.

    (e) The agency's materials laboratory may perform tests for other units of federal, state, and local government. The agency shall be reimbursed for the costs of the tests. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1991, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. May 15, 1992; 1993, No. 61, § 13, eff. June 3, 1993.)

  • § 309a. Local highway work uniform local share; exceptions

    (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) or (c) of this section or in sections 309b and 309c of this title, in any case of highway or bridge construction in which a federal/State/local or State/local funding match is authorized, the municipality's share shall be ten percent of the project costs.

    (b) This section shall not apply to:

    (1) any bridge replacement project in the Town Highway Bridge Program during the construction of which the municipality closes the bridge and does not construct a temporary bridge for the duration of the project, in which event the local match shall cover five percent of the project costs;

    (2) any project phase for which a municipality already has provided for payment of its share by issuing bonds or funding a reserve established under a capital improvement plan;

    (3) any project on a town highway for which the General Assembly has authorized a different federal/State/local funding match; and any project which serves an "economic growth center" as defined in 23 U.S.C. § 143, and for which the General Assembly has authorized a different federal/State/local funding match;

    (4) any project involving a bridge, including the approaches to a bridge, that extends between this State and an adjacent state;

    (5) any bridge or roadway project involving a local financial share in which the municipality, after its review of the conceptual project plans, chooses not to proceed with the proposed project; in such circumstances, the Agency shall pay 100 percent of the project costs incurred through the date it receives such notification from the municipality;

    (6) any project where, by the mutual agreement of the municipality and Agency, rehabilitation of an existing bridge is the preferred alternative, in which case the Agency shall use the appropriate combination of State and federal funding to pay either 95 percent of the cost of rehabilitation, or 97.5 percent if the municipality closes the bridge and does not construct a temporary bridge for the duration of the project; or

    (7) any project or portion of a project involving a structure that is part of the Historic Bridge Program, where the Agency shall use the appropriate combination of State and federal funding to pay 100 percent of the cost of rehabilitation.

    (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a municipality's share of any single project shall not exceed an amount equivalent to the amount which could be raised in one year by increasing the municipality's tax rate by $0.50. In these cases, the remaining portion of the nonfederal share shall be made up by the Agency, using available State funds.

    (d) In any case of highway or bridge construction in which a municipality bears a share of the project costs, the fair market value of any land, material, or services donated by the municipality and used in the project shall be credited to the municipality's share of the project costs subject to the provisions of 23 U.S.C. § 323 with respect to a federal aid project. (Added 1989, No. 121, § 11, eff. June 22, 1989; amended 1993, No. 61, § 41, eff. June 3, 1993; 1995, No. 140 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1997, No. 38, § 6a, eff. May 28, 1997; 1999, No. 18, § 21, eff. May 13, 1999; 2007, No. 75, § 21; 2011, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 26.)

  • § 309b. Local match; certain town highway programs

    (a) Notwithstanding subsection 309a(a) of this title, grants provided to towns under the town highway structures program shall be matched by local funds sufficient to cover 20 percent of the project costs, unless the town has adopted road and bridge standards, has completed a network inventory, and has submitted an annual certification of compliance for town road and bridge standards to the secretary, in which event the local match shall be sufficient to cover 10 percent of the project costs. The secretary may adopt rules to implement the town highway structures program. Town highway structures projects receiving funds pursuant to this subsection shall be the responsibility of the applicant municipality.

    (b) Notwithstanding subsection 309a(a) of this title, grants provided to towns under the class 2 town highway roadway program shall be matched by local funds sufficient to cover 30 percent of the project costs, unless the town has adopted road and bridge standards, has completed a network inventory, and has submitted an annual certification of compliance for town road and bridge standards to the secretary, in which event the local match shall be sufficient to cover 20 percent of the project costs. The secretary may adopt rules to implement the class 2 town highway roadway program. Class 2 town highway roadway projects receiving funds pursuant to this subsection shall be the responsibility of the applicant municipality, and a municipality shall not receive a grant in excess of $175,000.00.

    (c) Notwithstanding subsections 309a(a), (b), and (c) of this title, a municipality may use a grant awarded under the town highway structures program or the class 2 town highway roadway program to provide the nonfederal matching funds required to draw down a federal earmark or to match grants provided to towns under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). In all such cases, the grant shall be matched by local funds as provided in this section. The intended use of a town highway grant as matching funds for a federal earmark or for grants provided to towns under the ARRA shall not entitle a municipal grant applicant to any priority for a grant award in any fiscal year. When grants awarded under the town highway structures program or the class 2 town highway roadway program are used to satisfy nonfederal matching requirements for federal earmarks or for grants provided to towns under the ARRA, the term "project costs" in subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall refer only to the nonfederal match for the federal earmark or for a grant provided to towns under the ARRA. (Added 1991, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 10, eff. May 15, 1992; amended 1993, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. June 17, 1994; 1997, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. April 27, 1998; 2001, No. 64, § 15, eff. June 16, 2001; 2005, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 56, 57; 2007, No. 75, § 20; 2009, No. 50, § 33; 2009, No. 110 (Adj. Sess.), § 18, eff. July 1, 2011.)

  • § 309c. Cancellation of locally managed projects

    (a) Notwithstanding section 309a of this title, a municipality or other local sponsor responsible for a locally managed project through a grant agreement with the agency shall be responsible for the repayment, in whole or in part, of federal funds required by the Federal Highway Administration or other federal agency because of cancellation of the project by the municipality or other local sponsor due to circumstances or events wholly or partly within the municipality's or other local sponsor's control. Prior to any such determination that cancellation of a project was due to circumstances or events wholly or partly within a municipality's or other local sponsor's control, the agency shall consult with the municipality or other local sponsor to attempt to reach an agreement to determine the scope of the municipality's or other local sponsor's repayment obligation.

    (b) Within 15 days of an agency determination under subsection (a) of this section, a municipality may petition the board for a hearing to determine if cancellation of the project was due to circumstances or events in whole or in part outside the municipality's control. The board shall hold a hearing on the petition within 30 days of its receipt and shall issue an appropriate order within 30 days thereafter. If the board determines that cancellation of the project was due in whole or in part to circumstances or events outside the municipality's control, it shall order that the municipality's repayment obligation be reduced proportionally, in whole or in part. The municipality shall have no obligation to make a repayment under this section until the board issues its order. (Added 2009, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 30.)

  • § 309d. Policy for municipally managed transportation projects

    (a) Except in the case of projects or project components involving unpaved highways, for all transportation projects and project phases managed by a municipality, including planning, development, construction, or maintenance, it is the policy of this state for municipalities to consider "complete streets" principles, which are principles of safety and accommodation of all transportation system users, regardless of age, ability, or modal preference. If, after the consideration required under this section, a project does not incorporate complete streets principles, the municipality managing the project shall make a written determination, supported by documentation and available for public inspection at the office of the municipal clerk and at the agency of transportation, that one or more of the following circumstances exist:

    (1) Use of the transportation facility by pedestrians, bicyclists, or other users is prohibited by law.

    (2) The cost of incorporating complete streets principles is disproportionate to the need or probable use as determined by factors such as land use, current and projected user volumes, population density, crash data, historic and natural resource constraints, and maintenance requirements. The municipality shall consult local and regional plans, as appropriate, in assessing these and any other relevant factors.

    (3) Incorporating complete streets principles is outside the scope of a project because of its very nature.

    (b) The written determination required by subsection (a) of this section shall be final and shall not be subject to appeal or further review. (Added 2011, No. 34, § 3.)

  • § 310. Highways, bridges and trails

    (a) A town shall keep its class 1, 2, and 3 highways and bridges in good and sufficient repair during all seasons of the year, except that based on safety considerations for the traveling public and municipal employees, the selectboard shall, by rule adopted under 24 V.S.A. chapter 59, and after following the process for providing notice and hearing in section 709 of this title, have authority to determine whether a class 2 or 3 highway, or section of highway, should be plowed and made negotiable during the winter. A property owner aggrieved by a decision of the selectboard may appeal to the transportation board pursuant to subdivision 5(d)(9) of this title.

    (b) Class 4 highways may be maintained to the extent required by the necessity of the town, the public good and the convenience of the inhabitants of the town, or may be reclassified using the same procedures as for laying out highways and meeting the standards set forth in section 302 of this title.

    (c) A town shall not be liable for construction, maintenance, repair, or safety of trails.

    (d) For class 2 and 3 highways that have routinely not been plowed and made negotiable prior to July 1, 2000, the process requirements of subdivision 302(a)(3)(B) of this title and subsection (a) of this section shall not be required. A property owner adversely affected by this subsection may request the selectboard to plow and make negotiable a class 2 or 3 town highway. However, a property owner aggrieved by a decision of the selectboard may appeal to the transportation board pursuant to subdivision 5(d)(9) of this title. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1999, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 29, 30, eff. May 29, 2000.)

  • § 311. Class 1 and 2 highways; pavement markings

    The agency shall mark all paved class 1 and 2 highways with painted center lines. The selectboard promptly shall notify the district transportation administrator when these markings have been obliterated by resurfacing. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1991, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 11, eff. July 1, 1993; 1993, No. 25, § 61a, eff. May 18, 1993; 1995, No. 60, § 22, eff. April 25, 1995.)

  • § 312. Use of funds; unexpended balances

    The funds raised from town highway taxes shall not be used for any purpose other than that for which the tax was voted, subject to the provisions of this chapter. If in any year money so voted is not expended, it shall be applied for the same purpose the following year. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 313. Restricting use of covered bridges

    The Agency and the selectmen of the town where a covered bridge is located or, if parts of such a bridge are located in more than one town, the selectmen of the towns acting jointly, may restrict the use of the bridge to vehicles which are within limits as to weight, height, and width as they shall establish. The limitation shall be plainly posted at the approaches to the bridge at approximately 100 feet from each end of the bridge, and at intersections as may be required to enable operators of restricted vehicles to proceed by the most direct alternate unrestricted route. Posting shall be by means of permanent signs of a standard size of at least 24 inches by 24 inches, and with lettering not less than three inches high. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 314. Vote at town meeting

    In case the limitations proposed for a covered bridge are not approved by the selectmen and the Agency as provided in this chapter, the selectmen of the town or towns where the bridge is located shall have the right to place the question in the warnings of the next annual or special town meeting. When the bridge is located in more than one town, the limitations must be adopted by each of the towns and when so adopted, the bridge shall be posted according to the limitations. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 315. Penalties

    A person who operates a vehicle exceeding the limit prescribed on a bridge thus restricted, shall be fined not more than $200.00 for the first offense and not more than $300.00 for each subsequent offense. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 316. Removal of covered bridges; notice

    When a town or the agency decide that the destruction or removal of a covered bridge is necessary, whether by discontinuance of the highway or to replace the bridge with another structure or for any other reason, notice of the intent to destroy or remove the bridge shall be posted by the officials in three public places in the town where the bridge is located and published on two consecutive days in a newspaper of general circulation in the town. Copies of the notice shall be sent by certified mail to the governor and the director of the division for historic preservation not less than ninety days before destruction or removal is to be started, and the date of the proposed destruction or removal shall be stated in the notice. The requirement for a ninety day warning shall not apply in the event of a serious emergency. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 317. Preservation of historic bridges

    (a) The Division for Historic Preservation within the Agency of Commerce and Community Development is authorized to accept transfer from the Agency of Transportation, towns, railroads, or other entities of bridges deemed appropriate for preservation by the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development. The Division also is authorized to accept land or interests in land with each such bridge as reasonably necessary to preserve the bridge site and public access to the site.

    (b) Transfer of any bridge site or bridge approach to the Division for Historic Preservation under this section shall not be treated, for purposes of any law or rule of law, as an abandonment of the use of the right-of-way for highway or railroad purposes.

    (c) The Division for Historic Preservation may adopt such rules as are necessary to preserve, protect, and control the use of historic bridges, bridge sites, and bridge approaches.

    (d) The Division for Historic Preservation is authorized to purchase or lease a site or sites for the storage of dismantled historic bridges that are being preserved for possible reconstruction and reuse.

    (e) The Division for Historic Preservation is authorized to sell, lease, or otherwise convey the fee or lesser interest to any historic bridge. In all cases where an historic bridge is conveyed, the Division shall prescribe covenants necessary to preserve the historic integrity of the bridge. Any funds obtained from the sale, lease, or conveyance shall be used for the purposes outlined in subsection (a) of this section.

    (f) [Repealed.]  (Added 1993, No. 36, § 3; amended 1995, No. 190 (Adj. Sess.), § 1(a), (b); 2011, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 29.)

  • § 318. Local Technical Assistance Program; input from municipalities

    (a) Prior to submitting a fiscal year Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) work plan to the Federal Highway Administration for approval, the Agency shall, in consultation with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns and any other person the Agency deems appropriate, solicit from all Vermont towns, villages, and cities:

    (1) input on whether the Agency is providing effective municipal transportation-related technical assistance and training through the LTAP;

    (2) recommendations on how to improve the Agency's operation of the LTAP; and

    (3) recommendations for new training, technical assistance, or support functions to be provided through the LTAP.

    (b) The Agency shall consider the input and recommendations received from municipalities in developing its annual LTAP work plan.

    (c) Upon request, the Agency shall provide the Vermont League of Cities and Towns administrative support in soliciting and collecting municipal input and recommendations. (Added 2013, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 13.)