Friday January 25, 2013

Shumlin wants more time on health plan

MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin’s administration says it wants to start a conversation with lawmakers on how to pay for a single-payer health plan to be in place by 2017.

The administration issued its long-awaited financing reports late Thursday describing the money issues connected with setting up the health care exchange called for under the federal health care law, as well as the Green Mountain Care universal health program the Legislature and administration have agreed to set up.

The report estimates that the amount individuals and employers will pay for care will drop from the $2.2 billion it would have been without the new program to $332 million.

The bill for covering the change will be around $1.6 billion.

The report says Vermont should entertain a range of tax options.

Costco gets land permit for gas in Colchester

COLCHESTER (AP) -- Efforts by the retail giant Costco to sell gasoline at its Colchester retail center are getting a boost from a Vermont district environmental commission.

On Thursday the commission issued an Act 250 land-use permit for the plan.

The permit said the three-island, 12-pump gas station could be built if Costco helps pay for traffic improvements at the nearby Interstate 89 Exit 16 and U.S. 7 interchange.

According to reports, the gas pumps can’t start operating until the Vermont Transportation Agency submits a land-use application for a redesign of the Exit 16 interchange.

Supporters think competition from Costco would help drive down gas prices in northern Vermont.

But competitors oppose the proposal, citing increased traffic and environmental concerns.

Driver arraigned on 2nd-degree murder

RUTLAND (AP) -- A Vermont man accused of causing a crash that killed a 17-year-old girl in Rutland has been charged with second-degree murder.

Twenty-three-year-old Alex W. Spanos pleaded not guilty on Thursday in the death of Carly Ferro in September.

Spanos was held without bail.

Police say Spanos, of Rutland, was inhaling chemicals before his car went off the road and into a parked car, pushing it into Ferro, a pedestrian who had just walked out of the store where she worked.

Two other vehicles also were hit and two passengers in Spanos’ car were injured.

Police found aerosol cans and alcohol at the scene.