The Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) announced awards of approximately $4,461,000 in grants to municipalities for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvement projects. The combination of construction projects and planning grants will benefit cities and towns statewide with improved transportation connectivity and safety, and tangible economic benefits.
Vermont continues to prioritize making communities and streets more usable for all modes of transportation. In downtowns and village centers especially, municipalities are responding to the need for better walking and bicycling facilities.
“Walking and bicycling, especially for the many short trips that are common throughout Vermont, are a great way to reduce congestion and provide an opportunity for physical activity for Vermonters and visitors,” said Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn. “There are great positive effects on property values, tourism, and business growth, as well as reductions in traffic congestion, improvements in public health, and lower personal transportation costs.”
The agency annually awards millions of federal dollars through the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, with a goal of providing safe and convenient facilities for people who want and need alternative transportation opportunities. This year, those federal dollars include the addition of Highway Safety Improvement funds, allowing AOT to provide funding at a higher level than in the past, and direct funds to projects that are designed to improve safety for vulnerable road users.
This year’s awards include continuation of the initiative to fund small-scale improvements using 100% state funds. These smaller projects address critical safety needs, such as pedestrian crossings and filling critical sidewalk gaps. The agency plans to assist municipalities with construction of these small projects quickly with minimal delays. Small-scale projects were awarded in five communities statewide.
AOT has seen substantial interest in the program and received applications for proposed projects totaling over $20.5 million. This year’s awards will fund various construction projects, including sidewalks on Main Street in Castleton Village, a critical pedestrian connection on Route 7 north of Rutland City, the first segment of a multi-use path on the Sugarbush access Road in Warren, and crosswalks in Burke, Milton, and Northfield.
To learn more about the program and see a complete list of this year’s grant recipients, visit the Municipal Assistance Section on the AOT website.