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Legislative Notes for April 7, 2011

April 1, 2011

Another week has passed, this week the House passed the last of the require session bills.  The transportation and capital bills are both essential elements to the operation of state government.

The transportation bill totals in excess of five hundred million dollars and is administered by the agency of transportation.  It covers all things pertaining to the state’s highways, bridges and necessary transportation equipment.  This budget is substantially less than those of the last several years.  This is due to the loss of federal stimulus dollars (ARRA funds).  Vermont received in excess of four hundred million dollars in ARRA transportation funds over the last three years and much of this was used to pave roads, re-build bridges, replace signage and build previously planned projects.  With the loss of these ARRA funds, the agency will have much less to work with going forward which will likely impact many of the proposed local projects.  The bill also included a provision that attempted to clarify what messages could be displayed on an electronic sign and how long a message would have to remain constant.  Our town sign in the CVPS Park will be subject to these new provisions.  I supported the bill in spite of these facts because I feel that there were more positive elements than negative contained in the bill.  Although, I do hope and will work with the Senate to improve the bill as it moves through the rest of the legislative process.

The capital bill outlines all of the major maintenance and building projects conducted by the state.  This year was the first year the committee worked on a two year plan rather than the traditional one year capital expenditure program.  A total of one hundred fifty five million dollars is to be allocated for state projects.  The state sells bonds to pay for this work on an annual basis.  There were few controversial issues contained within the budget so it passed by a voice vote.  The Milton School district is scheduled to receive approximately seven hundred thousand dollars for each of its wood chip boiler projects for a total of one million four hundred thousand dollars if the bill remains unchanged in the Senate.  I am happy to see that the legislature is doing everything possible to pay down money due to school districts in a timely manner.  I supported passage of this bill mainly because of the money being sent to our school district.

Hosting friends and constituents at the Statehouse is one of the things I enjoy most about serving in the legislature.  If you would like to visit the Statehouse please feel free to contact me to arrange a date and time.

As your representative, I look forward to representing you and your concerns in Montpelier.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments or concerns. I am very interested in hearing from you.  During the session, I can be reached at the Statehouse by calling 1-800-322-5616 or by cell at 373-5960. My email address is dturner@leg.state.vt.us. My web-site address is www.donturnerjr.com. Thank you and have a great week.

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