Lawmakers approve $2.8 million trim of transportation budget


A panel of lawmakers approved a proposal to reduce the current fiscal year transportation budget Thursday.

The Joint Fiscal Committee unanimously approved the plan that cuts $2.8 million from the transportation budget lawmakers passed earlier this year.

The rescission comes months after economists for Gov. Peter Shumlin's administration and the Legislature came out with lower revenue projections for the fiscal year. The Emergency Board adopted the lower revenue targets at a meeting in July.

Transportation Secretary Chris Cole outlined the six-point plan for cuts to the original $612.6 million budget to the Joint Fiscal Committee on Thursday.

The plan includes:

• $640,000 in savings from a point-of-sale system project.

• $604,162 from money for purchasing materials and equipment. According to the agency, that equipment was already purchased with savings from the warm winter last year.

• $588,000 from excess cash in the central garage internal service fund.

• $229,059 from an accounting adjustment related to paving.

• $350,000 in anticipated savings in paving projects related to several factors, including a lower cost of asphalt.

• $400,000 from a Class II roadway grant program.

Cole and the administration say the reductions are not expected to delay or scale back any transportation projects.

In July, the committee approved a $21 million rescission plan for the general fund that does not cut any services or programs, instead relying largely on savings from the Medicaid program.

Sen. Jane Kitchel, D-Caledonia, who chairs the joint committee, said it was fortunate the state was able to adjust both the transportation and general fund budgets to meet the lowered revenue expectations without making cuts to benefits or services.


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