University of Vermont Transportation Research Center

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The United States is facing a serious crisis with respect to transportation funding. Many infrastructure components, including roadways, bridges, and transit systems are dated, worn down and/or are functioning below baseline performance threshold levels. Traditional revenue sources such as gas taxes, vehicle tolls, and Highway Trust Fund (HTF) distributions are not providing adequate revenue streams to keep up with increasing infrastructure maintenance and repair costs. Even with the passage of the recent federal transportation funding bill in 2015, federal and state agencies are struggling to keep up with the increasing capital requirements needed to improve, replace, rehabilitate, and/or maintain aging and heavily used transportation assets. This funding crisis has put intense pressure on transportation agencies to come up with newer, more innovative funding strategies. One such innovative funding strategy is referred to as strategic reinvestment / disinvestment. Conventional transportation investment alternatives are typically categorized as either maintenance, repair, replacement, or expansion. Conversely, disinvestment alternatives are categorized as deferment of action, modification of standards, decommissioning assets, or a change of jurisdiction. To fully evaluate all possible investment alternatives, decision-makers should consider both conventional investment strategies as well as disinvestment strategies. Strategic reinvestment / disinvestment generally involves: 1) clearly prioritizing transportation goals and objectives, 2) identifying the projects and/or assets that are most important with respect to obtaining various goals as well as projects and/or assets that are the least important or least critical in obtaining those goals, 3) and then consciously defunding or reducing funding allocated to lower priority transportation assets and ideally reinvesting those savings into higher-priority assets. This report summarizes the current state of practice related to the implementation of different reinvestment / disinvestment strategies at the state level and examines how some of these strategies may be employed in the state of Vermont. In this report, we not only identify candidate corridors for disinvestment based on quantifiable measures of how critical or important the corridors are to traffic flow throughout the roadway network as a whole, but we also consider how disinvestments might impact access to critical services (i.e. access to hospitals and police / fire services), and whether or not the disinvestment might have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations in the state.