I am proud of our community coming together to save the Ethan Allen Express a few years ago from state budget cuts. The ridership continues to grow and is a valuable asset in bringing much-needed tourist dollars and connecting the nation to our city and region.
Earlier this month, there was a celebration of the first rail project completed through funding by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This is the 185-mile stretch across our state from St. Albans to Brattleboro served by the Vermonter. This is a wonderful milestone for rail and for the eastern side of our state.
However, we are still awaiting state funding, having lost out on two federal ARRA grants, to upgrade our rail line from Rutland to Burlington. The fact that we have no interstate on the western side of Vermont makes it all the clearer for me that we need state funds and a five-year plan to complete the western rail corridor. Initially from Rutland to Burlington, the Amtrak Ethan Allen will continue northward providing good-paying jobs, both through upgraded infrastructure as well as a boost to small business creation along the western corridor of Vermont.
I am committed to getting this vision back on track in the next session of the Vermont General Assembly, with the stated support of Gov. Shumlin, as this will be my central focus in pulling together all sides in an effort to get this job done.
Rep. HERB RUSSELL
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