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Scott Wants To Improve Vt.'s Transportation Infrastructure With Federal, Not State, Funds

Governor-elect Phil Scott says it's critical for Vermont to take steps to rebuild its transportation infrastructure. But Scott says he'll oppose efforts to raise the state gas tax to provide new revenue for this initiative.

And Scott says he’s looking to Congress to support a major expansion of federal transportation programs.

Scott told a meeting of the Vermont Petroleum Association on Wednesday that Vermont needs to address its transportation infrastructure needs in order to revitalize the state economy.

But Scott made it clear that new money to repair roads and bridges throughout Vermont should not come from an increase in the state gas tax.

“Too many Vermonters are struggling because of the growing crisis of affordability, and I firmly believe we cannot afford to raise taxes,” Scott said.

Scott said many states face transportation challenges, and that's why he thinks this problem needs to be solved by Congress.

“I will advocate for federal dollars and federal reforms, as well as flexibility, and work with other governors from around the country to encourage Congress to address our nation's transportation challenges on a national level,” Scott said.

Scott said he's hopeful that President-elect Donald Trump will follow through with his campaign pledge to support a $1 trillion package to repair the country's transportation system.

“The president-elect has outlined some bold infrastructure plans, and my administration will follow those developments closely. We don't know what's going to happen in Washington, but the reality is our national transportation system faces tremendous challenges."

Scott also ruled out using state revenue bonds to finance a new transportation package. The governor-elect says Vermont can't afford to increase its debt capacity at this time.

Correction 5:26 p.m. This post originally misstated the scope of President-elect Trump's campaign pledge for infrastructure spending. Trump called for $1 trillion in spending, not $1 billion.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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