Burlington rail project could get $2.25 million boost in federal funds

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The Railroad Enterprise Project has been in the planning stages for 9 years. On Monday, Congressman Peter Welch said the effort could soon get a $2.25 million boost in federal funding.

Welch said that “quadruples the money that has been available only through the city and the Vermont agency. “So it should be a significant contribution toward significant progress.”

The $20 million plan will connect Pine Street and Battery Street through the railyard. Mayor Miro Weinberger says it will improve traffic flow, business opportunities, and quality of life in the south end.

“These sections of the city that are unfinished, the status of the projects unresolved has not been good for anybody,” Weinberger said. “It’s been bad for walkers, it’s been bad for bikers, it’s been bad for people trying to get around the city.”

Some say this project is just a small dent in the big picture, when it comes to the structural work needed around Burlington. Mark Hughes with the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance Center says they’ve been calling on Queen City leaders to address issues with the Champlain Parkway. He says the design has an inequitable impact on traffic flow in black neighborhoods.

“It will reduce traffic in affluent white neighborhoods in the south end by 72% and it will increase traffic in black neighborhoods by 37%,” Hughes said. “That is why we are here.”

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