Town wins $101,000 paving grant (8/27/09)

But economic stimulus funding rejected

Aug. 27, 2009

By Greg Elias

Observer staff

Motorists will have a smoother cruise on Oak Hill Road in coming months, thanks to a six-figure state paving grant. But no money for roadwork will be forthcoming from the federal economic stimulus program.


    Observer photo by Greg Duggan
Cracks spread across Oak Hill Road, which is expected to be repaved this fall.

The town recently learned it would receive $101,481 from the state to repave a 1.1-mile stretch of Oak Hill Road, which links Williston Village to Hinesburg. The segment to be paved runs southward from the Interstate 89 overpass to near the intersection of Old Creamery Road.

The money will fund 70 percent of the project, with the town picking up the remaining $44,000, said Public Works Director Neil Boyden.

Paving is expected to take place this fall. Boyden said the town has already rebuilt culverts along the route.

The project continues the process of repaving Oak Hill Road, parts of which have received fresh asphalt in previous years. It is one of a number of roads that have been or will be repaved this summer and fall, including Industrial Avenue, Marshall Avenue and Mountain View Road.

Plans for improving or building other roads, sidewalks and recreation paths, however, will await additional funding after the town’s efforts to obtain federal economic stimulus money were rejected.

The town had sought a total of $3.9 million in stimulus funding for building new sidewalks along Vermont 2A and Mountain View Road, paving parts of Mountain View Road and Marshall Avenue and constructing a new street named Trader Lane near Taft Corners.

Some of the projects, like the new street, were eliminated early in the review process, which weeded out proposals that could not be completed within 180 days. More recently, the town was informed that the remaining projects were not selected by a committee comprised of legislators, state agency representatives and municipal officials.

State officials had said that many projects would fail to make the cut because there was not nearly enough money to go around. Roughly $130 million in federal stimulus funding received by Vermont had been set aside for transportation projects, but requests for funding exceeded $500 million.

Boyden acknowledged that failing to secure any federal money was a letdown, noting the “hours and hours” spent preparing applications.

But he also said that other grants, combined with town funding, will allow some of the projects to move forward anyway.

For example, on Vermont 2A, a length of recreation path north of James Brown Drive will be funded in part by one state grant the town has already received and another it hopes to win next year. On Mountain View Road, the town will use a voter-approved bond to build a recreation path between North Williston and Old Stage roads.