11.19.21

Leahy, Sanders And Welch Laud $9.7 Million U.S. DOT Investment In Vermont Bicycle-Pedestrian Infrastructure

. . . Federal Funds Will Support New Bridge Between South Burlington And Burlington, Improving Safety In State’s Busiest Intersection

(FRIDAY, Nov. 19, 2021) -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I), Representative Peter Welch (D) and South Burlington City officials announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded the City a Rebuilding American Infrastructure With Sustainability And Equity (RAISE) grant totaling $9,768,834, to build a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Interstate 89.  The project will provide a safe and protected way for bicyclists and pedestrians to travel between South Burlington and Burlington.

Leahy said:  “This project in the heart of Chittenden County will make it safer and easier for Vermonters to travel home and to work by bike or on foot.  Part of the federal strategy to limit the worst impacts of climate change must be to invest in non-vehicular transportation infrastructure.  Projects like this not only improve our transportation network but strengthen Vermont’s downtowns with environmentally sustainable projects.”  In his role as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy included language in the Fiscal Year 2020 Omnibus Appropriations Bill to ensure that rural states like Vermont would receive a portion of these competitive grants.

Sanders said:  “If we are going to combat the existential threat of climate change, strengthen our economy, and improve the lives of Vermonters across the state, we can and must transform our transportation systems away from fossil fuels and toward sustainable alternatives.  This project, which provides a safe, affordable, and sustainable way for Vermonters to travel between Burlington and South Burlington, is an important step in the right direction.”

Welch said:  “Transportation is Vermont’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.  To do our part to combat climate change, it’s critical that we find ways to cut down on emissions, while improving quality of life for Vermonters.  This new project does just that: Vermonters will be able to travel safely by bike and on foot between South Burlington and Burlington, reducing our state’s greenhouse gas emissions while increasing accessibility to South Burlington’s new downtown center.”

South Burlington City Manager Jessie Baker said:  “On behalf of the residents and City Council of South Burlington, we want to sincerely thank Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, and Congressman Welch for their support of this transformational project for our community.  Envisioned to be a destination, not just a pathway, this bicycle and pedestrian bridge will connect our burgeoning City Center with our neighboring community and key destinations such as the University and the Hospital.  Modern infrastructure is critical to address the impacts of climate change.  We are thankful for the financial support to do this while also building community vibrancy.” 

The RAISE grant for the City of South Burlington will provide $9,768,834 for the construction of a pedestrian and bicycle crossing bridge over Interstate 89 for East-West travel.  Currently, pedestrians and bicyclists must transverse four on- and off-ramps next to high-speed traffic at the busiest interstate exchange in Vermont to cross the Interstate on U.S. Route 2.  This bridge will allow residents the choice of active, fuel-free, lower-cost and on-demand transportation, contributing to improved health and environmental outcomes.  By increasing transportation options in Chittenden County’s busiest transportation corridor, the investment will support South Burlington’s once-in-a-century downtown project to shift community growth away from sprawl and toward the newly developed City Center.

The Vermont Congressional Delegation submitted a letter of support for the City of South Burlington’s RAISE Grant project in July, 2021, which is available here.

This year USDOT received 765 eligible RAISE applications requesting more than $10.3 billion in funding.  Fewer than 100 applications were funded this year for the highly competitive RAISE program. 

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