(STL.News) – Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) today announced that the Legislature has approved funding to accelerate the completion of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT). As proposed in the Governor’s FY21 budget, the allocation totals $2.8 million, which will be matched by $11.3 million in federal funds, to complete construction of the trail by the summer of 2022.
“The LVRT will bring together some of our most rural communities while boosting local economies and improving quality of life for Vermonters and visitors,” said Governor Scott. “I appreciate the cooperation of the Legislature, our federal and local partners and VAST in getting us a step closer to making this long-time goal a reality.”
“We are pleased to enter into this new phase of our relationship with the state, which will significantly speed up the timeline for completing this project,” said VAST Executive Director Cindy Locke. “ We are extremely grateful to VAST members, the individual donors and private foundations who have made it possible for us to complete the initial miles of the trail, and we look forward to the coming progress.”
The State had previously contracted with VAST for construction and maintenance of the LVRT and had relied on assistance from towns along the trail, private donations and VAST’s own investment to fulfill those efforts. State funding for the remainder of the construction will ensure this project is finished. Future private donations to VAST for the LVRT will be used for trail maintenance and repairs.
VAST will continue working with the Town of Hardwick to complete a small section of the trail this summer using private donations matched by federal dollars through the Agency of Transportation, as well as re-decking two bridges east of Hardwick using a $200,000 Northern Border Regional Commission federal grant that matched $50,000 in local funds raised by Hardwick.
The full route of the trail extends across five counties in northern Vermont, a total of 93 miles from St. Johnsbury to Swanton. VAST has already completed more than 33 miles of that trail, and the 60 unfinished miles will run through the towns of Hardwick, Walden, Wolcott, Morristown, Cambridge, Fletcher, Bakersfield, Fairfield, Sheldon, Highgate and Swanton. The LVRT serves as the connecting spine to several other significant recreational trails in Vermont and Canada, including the VAST snowmobile trail network, the Long Trail, the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail and the Cambridge Greenway. When completed, the LVRT will be the longest rail trail in New England.
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