March 19th, 2012

Senate Passes Transportation Bill – Vermont receives $408 million

On March 14th, a two-year transportation bill with a provision of $109-billion for transportation projects was passed by the Senate. Written by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the bill was approved by a vote of seventy-four to twenty-two.The transportation bill will provide Vermont with $408-million for bridge and road repair work. According to Senator Sanders, anyone driving around the state would see the need for improvement.

A Sanders amendment to the transportation bill addresses the coverage of road repair costs, for a state, after an extreme natural disaster. According to the amendment, one-hundred percent of the road repair cost would be covered by the emergency relief program of the Federal Highway Administration. Therefore, an additional allotment of around $20-million would be granted to Vermont for road and highway damages caused by Tropical Storm Irene. The damaging effect of the storm, last August, cost the state between $185-million to $250-million.

Profits for Vermonts job market

With new funding being allotted for transportation projects, there will be plenty of jobs available for construction workers. According to Senator Sanders, in the next two years, the bill will save over 1.8 million jobs each year across the nation. The senator also stated, “…this bill can put a lot of people back to work…”

In Vermont, one-third of their bridges and roads are either obsolete or in disrepair. A national report also ranked Vermont’s rural roads as the worst in nation. However, infrastructure problems exist throughout the nation. At a minimum, over $2-trillion, for the next five years, will be needed to make roads and bridges passable nationwide.