An absolutely critical hearing on the Commuter Fringe Benefit
Demonstration for the Capitol Complex/Downtown Area is set for this Tuesday,
February 1, 10 a.m., before Senate Transportation Room on the Main Floor of
the State House.
We need to have a good number of people present to show support and
several to say some good words. The issue is simply $25,000 for program
design funds from unrestricted federal transportation planning dollars.
With these funds we can jump the Agency of Transportation (AOT) hurdle of
showing the reduced emssions from the project and work Federal Highway
Admiistration (FHWA) to satisfy their concerns about eligibility.
It is so important for us to suceed on Tuesday and with the Senate so we
can bring the issue to the House and obtain funding--not just our funding is
at stake since our demonstration can be repeated in other downtowns and
employment areas in Vermont. Further, Vermont is a "gold" state for federal
highway funding, and should be in the forefront with "smart travel" proposals
like the Montpelier demonsrtration. And, finally, we should back up the
support and efforts of the City State Commision and the strong leadership of
the Mayor and especially Senator Illuzzi who is working diligently to carry
out every facet of the Master Plan.
We expected AOT opposition, but did not expect FHWA to question
eligiblity of the project for funding, since we talked with those who wrote
the rule appeals on eligibility, Abbe Marner and Michael Savonis. Am working
on trying to resolve this aspect before Tuesday.
Hope to see a lot of you on Tuesday. Please call me at 828-5755 or home
223-1744 if you need more information. You could write a letter in support
to Richard Mazza, Chair, Senate Transportation, State Senate, Montpelier
Note the 3-year demonstration would cost about $500,000 a year
including a full time shuttle at $150,000--all could be funded with 80%
federal transportation funds. About $100,000 in state funds would be
needed--but we now pay $81,000 in state and local funds (no federal funds
allowed) for the five month shuttle so our demonstration would require only
about $20,000 more in state funds than is being now spent on the shuttle!
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