MONTPELIER - Several local communities will benefit from recently awarded municipal grants from the Transportation Alternatives Program.

Gov. Peter Shumlin and Transportation Secretary Brian Searles announced the recipients of the grants on Wednesday. All told, 16 Vermont towns will receive a total of $2.2 million in federal funds.

Local towns benefit

Three local towns and villages that will benefit from the grants are North Bennington, Wilmington, and Readsboro. The other towns receiving funding are Putney, St. Albans, Williston, Hyde Park, Cabot, Rutland, Springfield, Montpelier, Burke, Springfield, Hartford, Fair Haven, and Killington.

The Village of North Bennington will receive $74,000 to repair the roof of the North Bennington Train Depot, which also houses the town offices. The railroad station was constructed in 1880, replacing an earlier wood frame station on the same site. The station was an important stop on the Rutland Railroad, though it fell into disrepair after the gradual decline of the railroad's passenger service in the 1930s. In 1971, Ethel Scott McCullough and her husband, William R. Scott, sponsored the restoration of the building. In 1996, the village obtained a grant from the Department of Transportation to restore the building.

The Town of Wilmington will receive $25,000 for a scoping study for sidewalks on Route 9, Route 100, and South Main Street.

The Town of Readsboro will receive $300,000 for 4,016 feet of sidewalk on Main Street, East Main Street, School Street and Tunnel Street.

"Modern, safe, and accessible transportation networks support jobs, economic development, and healthy, vibrant, communities," said Shumlin in a release. "These projects make walking and riding an even better way to go. We are committed to building a transportation network that serves all Vermonters."

"The Transportation Alternatives Program can provide the final piece of the puzzle that transforms a downtown or connects an important community resource," said Searles. "We are always impressed with the applications we receive and pleased to be able to direct this funding to where its needed most."

In total, the grants will fund more than 14,000 feet of sidewalk construction within the state. TAP provides funding for programs and projects defined as "transportation alternatives," according to a press release, including pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects, community improvement activities, safe routes to school projects, and various other construction projects. The application deadline to apply for a grant under the program was Oct. 16.

According to documentation on the project's website, there is a required sponsor funding match of 20 percent for construction projects and 50 percent for scoping studies, although the document notes that successful applicants may propose that up to one-half of their required match be met through donations. This is, however, subject to approval from the TAP committee. Additionally, municipalities could not request more than $300,000.

The TAP committee includes representatives from the Agency of Transportation, the Agency of Natural Resources, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, the Vermont Association of Planning and Development Agencies, and members of the Vermont House and Senate.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB