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BARRE — The Vermont Agency of Transportation will hold a virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 6, from 4-5 p.m. via Microsoft Teams (https://bit.ly/3iYLl5q). This is the first of two public meetings as part of the process to update the State's Freight and Rail Plans.

The state's freight and rail plans are important for several reasons, the AOT said in a release. They:

- Support and enhance Vermont's economy and quality of life

- Provide rail transportation options for intercity and interstate travel

- Meet federal requirements and remain eligible for certain grant programs

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- Support goals of the Vermont Long-Range Transportation Plan and Comprehensive Energy Plan

At the meeting, AOT staff will provide an overview of the plans; review rail trends, existing conditions, and system changes; and provide an opportunity for members of the public to give feedback and ask questions. A longer version of the presentation and additional material are available online at the links above for the plans.

At any time, all are welcome to use the new online crowdsourcing map tool developed for the rail and freight plans, at https://bit.ly/VTFreightRailMap. The interactive experience allows visitors to "drop a pin" on the map to provide feedback about areas of concern or ideas for new initiatives. Initiatives include improvements to operations, coordination, capital investments, and other enhancements, with an awareness that funding is limited. Feedback is also welcome by e-mail, phone, and mail at the contact information provided above.

The map also displays helpful information about the state's rail and freight systems, such as freight transload facilities, rail bridges that will not carry the new standard freight rail car weight, and Vermont's rail connections to the rest of North America. This centralized resource helps inform planning discussions.

For more information about the state's freight and rail plans, visit https://vtrans.vermont.gov/rail/reports or https://vtrans.vermont.gov/planning/freight.


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