The Vermont Statutes Online
- Subchapter 001: PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION POLICY
§ 5081. Definition
As used in this subchapter:
"Public transportation" means the transportation of persons, including groups of the general public with special needs, by all means available to the general public. (Added 1989, No. 262 (Adj. Sess.).)
§ 5082. Findings and declarations
(a) Public transportation is an important matter of state concern, essential to the economic growth of the state and to the public health, safety and welfare of present and future generations of Vermonters.
(b) In each fiscal year, a portion of the transportation fund shall be dedicated to the continued support of public transit. (Added 1989, No. 262 (Adj. Sess.); amended 2001, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. June 21, 2002.)
§ 5083. Declaration of policy
(a) It shall be the State's policy to make maximum use of available federal funds for the support of public transportation. State operating support funds shall be included in Agency operating budgets to the extent that funds are available. State policy shall support the maintenance of existing public transit services and creation of new services including, in order of precedence, the following goals:
(1) Provision for basic mobility for transit-dependent persons, as defined in the public transit policy plan of January 15, 2000, including meeting the performance standards for urban, suburban, and rural areas. The density of a service area's population is an important factor in determining whether the service offered is fixed route, demand-response, or volunteer drivers.
(2) Access to employment, including creation of demand-response service.
(3) Congestion mitigation to preserve air quality and the sustainability of the highway network.
(4) Advancement of economic development objectives, including services for workers and visitors that support the travel and tourism industry. Applicants for "new starts" in this service sector shall demonstrate a high level of locally derived income for operating costs from fare-box recovery, contract income, or other income.
(b) The Agency of Transportation shall evaluate proposals for new public transit service submitted by providers in response to a notice of funding availability, by examining feasibility studies submitted by providers. The feasibility studies shall address criteria set forth in the most recent public transit policy plan.
(c) The Agency, in cooperation with the Public Transit Advisory Council, shall adopt appropriate performance and service standards for transit systems receiving federal or State assistance. The Agency of Transportation shall provide guidance, training, funding, and technical assistance to transit systems in order to meet the performance and service standards established.
(d) The Agency of Transportation shall provide written guidance, funding, and technical assistance in the preparation of financial and management plans for public transit systems for each fiscal year. To provide a foundation for financial stability and reliability in the provision of transportation services to the public, the Agency of Transportation shall, in cooperation with the Public Transit Advisory Council, establish both short and long-range fiscal, operating, and capital investment plans to support the goals outlined in this section and regional transportation development plan proposals and regional plans as required by section 5089 of this title. (Added 1989, No. 262 (Adj. Sess.); amended 1993, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 21, eff. June 17, 1994; 1999, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 18, eff. May 29, 2000; 2003, No. 56, § 37, eff. June 4, 2003; 2011, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 32.)
§ 5084. Public Transit Advisory Council
(a) The Public Transit Advisory Council shall be created by the Secretary of Transportation under 19 V.S.A. § 7(f)(5), to consist of the following members:
(1) the Secretary of Transportation or designee;
(2) three representatives of the Vermont Public Transportation Association;
(3) a representative of the Chittenden County Transportation Authority;
(4) the Secretary of Human Services or designee;
(5) the Commissioner of Labor or designee;
(6) the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development or designee;
(7) a representative of the Vermont Center for Independent Living;
(8) a representative of the Community of Vermont Elders;
(9) a representative of private bus operators and taxi services;
(10) a representative of Vermont intercity bus operators;
(11) a representative of the Vermont Association of Planning and Development Agencies;
(12) a representative of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns;
(13) a citizen appointed by the Governor;
(14) a member of the Senate, appointed by the Committee on Committees; and
(15) a member of the House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker.
(b) The Advisory Council shall be chaired by the Secretary of Transportation or designee.
(c) The Advisory Council shall meet no less than four times during each State fiscal year, excluding subcommittee meetings. The legislative members of the Council shall be entitled to compensation and expenses as provided in 2 V.S.A. § 406. Members who are not State employees shall receive reimbursement of expenses and a per diem as provided in 32 V.S.A. § 1010.
(d) The Advisory Council shall serve as an advisory group to the Agency of Transportation on all matters relating to public transit service as defined in section 5088 of this title.
(e) [Repealed.] (Added 1999, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 17, eff. May 29, 2000; amended 2003, No. 56, § 38, eff. June 4, 2003; 2003, No. 160 (Adj. Sess.), § 50, eff. June 9, 2004; 2011, No. 62, § 32.)
- Subchapter 002: PUBLIC TRANSIT
§ 5088. Definitions
As used in this subchapter:
(1) "Fixed route service" means a public transit service operated over a set route or network of routes on a regular schedule.
(2) "New public transit service" means any eligible public transit service not previously provided.
(3) "Nonprofit public transit system" means a domestic corporation organized in accordance with 11 V.S.A. chapter 19 having the majority of its governing board appointed by the legislative body of the municipality or municipalities served, and a function of providing a public transit service or a foreign nonprofit corporation located in a state which borders Vermont and provides public transit services in both Vermont and the bordering state.
(4) "Paratransit" means transportation services, provided through flexible scheduling or routing in small vehicles, such as ride-matching, dial-a-ride, jitney, subscription, and route-deviated bus services.
(5) A "public transit service" means any fixed route, paratransit, transportation brokerage, user-side subsidy, and or rideshare/ride-match program which is available to any person upon payment of the proper fare, and which is promoted to be available to all members of the public, including those with special needs.
(6) A "public transit system" means:
(A) a transportation authority as provided by No. 122 of the Acts of 1973;
(B) a transit authority or transit district as provided by chapter 127 of this title;
(C) any municipal transit system, or any nonprofit public transit system;
(D) a local chapter of the American National Red Cross created by Congress under 36 U.S.C. § 1 et seq. that provides public transit service; or
(E) an intercity bus carrier.
(8) "Transportation brokerage" means matching the most appropriate services and providers to individual markets.
(9) "User-side subsidy" means a direct subsidy to users which allows them to select the service they prefer. (Added 1989, No. 262 (Adj. Sess.); amended 1991, No. 50, § 253a; 1993, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 16, eff. June 17, 1994; 1995, No. 60, § 28, eff. April 25, 1995; 2001, No. 64, § 17, eff. June 16, 2001; 2009, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 47(1).)
§ 5089. Planning
(a) The Agency of Transportation's Public Transit Plan for the State shall be amended no less frequently than every five years. The development of the State Public Transit Plan shall include consultation with public transit providers, the metropolitan planning organization, and the regional planning commissions and their transportation advisory committees to ensure the integration of transit planning with the transportation planning initiative as well as conformance with chapter 117 of this title (municipal and regional planning and development). Regional plans, together with the Agency of Transportation's Public Transit Plan shall function to coordinate the provision of public, private nonprofit, and private for-profit regional public transit services, in order to ensure effective local, regional, and statewide delivery of services.
(b) Recognizing that the growing demand for new regional and commuter services must be considered within the context of the continuing need for local transit services that meet basic mobility needs, the Agency of Transportation shall consult annually with the regional planning commissions and public transit providers in advance of the award of available planning funds. The Agency shall maintain a working list of both short- and long-term planning needs, goals, and objectives that balances the needs for regional service with the need for local service. Available planning funds shall be awarded in accordance with State and federal law and as deemed necessary and appropriate by the Agency following consultation with the regional planning commissions and the public transit providers. (Added 1989, No. 262 (Adj. Sess.); amended 1993, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 17, eff. June 17, 1994; 2001, No. 64, § 18, eff. June 16, 2001; 2009, No. 50, § 73; 2011, No. 62, § 33.)
§ 5090. Human service transit
The secretary of human services shall direct agency of human services programs to purchase client transportation through public transit systems in all instances where public transit services are appropriate to client needs and as cost-efficient as other transportation. (Added 1989, No. 262 (Adj. Sess.); amended 1993, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 18, eff. June 17, 1994.)
§ 5091. Funding
(a) The Secretary of Transportation, within the annual budget setting process, shall meet with the Public Transit Advisory Council and representatives of public transit systems to establish the level of State funds needed by public transit systems in Vermont, and shall consider this level in formulating the Agency of Transportation's proposed Transportation Program.
(b) State funds authorized by the General Assembly as grant assistance for the operation of public transit services shall be eligible for use as a matching source for federal funds.
(c) The same fiscal accountability requirements and regulatory standards shall apply to all grantees of funds as provided by rule of the Secretary of Transportation.
(d) Rideshare, capital, contracted services, and transportation brokerage services are not to be considered as operating funds under this section.
(e) State funds shall be paid to eligible grantees as follows:
(1) the first payment of 50 percent of the estimated annual fiscal year total shall be paid immediately upon execution of the grant;
(2) subsequent payments shall be paid quarterly based on projected need determined by current fiscal year spending and availability of funds;
(3) additional payments, if necessary, shall occur only if actual costs exceed the previous payments and if funds are available.
(g) Monies which are in excess of the grantee's net project cost shall be returned to the Agency of Transportation within 30 days of the Agency's acceptance of the post-project audit.
(h) Applicants for State funding shall meet the requirements of federal laws and regulations relating to fiscal accountability and accessibility by persons with a disability.
(i) To implement the public transportation policy goals set forth in section 5083 of this title and 19 V.S.A. § 10f, the Agency of Transportation shall use the following formula for distribution of operating funds to public transit systems:
(A) 10 percent based on the percentage of the State's population of elders (persons age 60 and above) in each of the designated transit service areas;
(B) 10 percent based on the percentage of the State's youth population (persons ages 12 through 17) in each of the designated transit service areas;
(C) 10 percent based on the percentage of the State's population of people who have limited physical mobility in each of the designated transit service areas;
(D) 10 percent based on the percentage of the State's population of people who are in poverty in each of the designated transit service areas;
(E) 10 percent based on the percentage of the State's households lacking access to an automobile in each of the designated transit service areas.
(2) 20 percent of operating funds shall be based on need for employment transportation, as measured by the percentage of the State's employed persons residing in each of the designated transit service areas, using data developed by the Vermont Department of Labor.
(3) 15 percent of operating funds shall be based on the need for congestion mitigation and air quality, as measured by the percentage of the State's overall population living in high density areas in each of the designated transit service areas, using data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
(4) 15 percent of the operating funds shall be based on need for economic development transportation, as measured by the percentage of the State's jobs in each of the designated transit service areas, using data developed annually by the Vermont Department of Labor.
(j) Notwithstanding subsection (i) of this section, and to the extent that appropriated funds are available, no provider who is otherwise eligible shall receive a lesser amount of operating funds than it expended on eligible operating expenses in State fiscal year 2001 for services that remain ongoing, and provided that the amount shall be evaluated as necessary to address changes in the cost of providing the services. In the event that a provider merges with or is otherwise succeeded by another provider, the successor provider shall be entitled to the same protection under this subsection that would have been available to the superseded provider.
(k) Eligibility for an intercity bus carrier is limited to capital and operating assistance for routes which have not demonstrated economic viability. The Agency of Transportation is directed to develop procedures and criteria by December 31, 2001 to administer this subsection. Funding shall be appropriated and distributed outside the funding formula of subsection (i) of this section.
(l) State operating assistance appropriated for projects coming off new public transit service funding in fiscal year 2002 shall not be distributed pursuant to the formula in subsection (i) of this section, but shall be added to the eligible grantees' funding under subsection (j) of this section to the extent that they meet criteria for successful evaluation at the end of 2002.
(m) Any new State operating assistance appropriated to replace new public transit service funds for routes that have successfully met the evaluation criteria after State fiscal year 2002 shall not be distributed pursuant to the formula in subsection (i) of this section, but shall be added to the eligible grantees' funding under subsection (j) of this section. (Added 1989, No. 262 (Adj. Sess.); amended 1991, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 21, eff. May 15, 1992; 1993, No. 61, § 28, eff. June 3, 1993; 1993, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 19, 21, eff. June 17, 1994; 2001, No. 64, § 19, eff. June 16, 2001; 2003, No. 56, § 39, eff. June 4, 2003; 2005, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 5, 2006; 2009, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 47(2); 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 163; 2017, No. 38, § 17.)
§ 5092. Repealed. 2013, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 25.
§ 5093. Rules
Rules reasonable and necessary to implement this chapter may be adopted by the secretary of transportation pursuant to the provisions of 3 V.S.A. chapter 25. (Added 1989, No. 262 (Adj. Sess.); amended 1993, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 20, eff. June 17, 1994; 2003, No. 56, § 40, eff. June 4, 2003.)
§ 5094. Powers of Secretary of Transportation
On behalf of the State and to carry out the purposes of this chapter and 19 V.S.A. § 10f, the Secretary of Transportation may:
(1) execute and file an application with the Federal Transit Administration for federal assistance authorized by Titles 23 and 49 of the U.S. Code or other federal law;
(2) execute and file certifications, assurances, or other documents the Federal Transit Administration may require before awarding a federal assistance grant or cooperative agreement;
(3) execute grant and cooperative agreements with the Federal Transit Administration. (Added 2011, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 18, eff. May 16, 2012.)