Friday June 28, 2013

Vt. snowmobile group to work on rail trail

DANVILLE (AP) -- Construction could begin within the next few days on two bridges on a 94-mile rail-trail across northern Vermont once the winning bid on the project has been verified, said an official with the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers.

On Friday, VAST opened bids for construction of two bridges on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, one in St. Johnsbury, the other in Danville.

The low-bid was submitted by Morrisville-based Blow & Cote. The verification process could take about a week. The amount of the bid won’t be revealed until it has been verified, said VAST Technical Assistant Jessi Hudson.

"As soon as the contract is awarded they can start," Hudson said.

VAST leases the defunct rail line from the state. It’s seeking bids for two prefabricated truss bridges along a 15-mile section from St. Johnsbury and West Danville.

The association is funding the effort in part with a $5.4 million grant that requires a 20 percent cash match or a 25 percent in kind match.

The bridges would be the first of two phases of planned construction on nearly 15 miles of trail between St. Johnsbury and West Danville. It’s estimated the trail building will be completed next summer or early 2015.

The trail will run from St. Johnsbury to Swanton.

Vt. delegation seeks 2 rivers for ‘wild’ system

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The three members of Vermont’s congressional delegation are hoping to add the Upper Missisquoi and Trout rivers in the northern part of the state to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

Sens. Patrick Leahy, Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch introduced legislation Thursday to add the Vermont rivers to the system that is managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Currently 40 other states have rivers listed under the system, created in 1968 to recognize and preserve rivers with scenic and recreational value.

The designation would protect the natural, cultural and recreational qualities of the rivers for fishermen, hunters and paddlers. It would also help maintain water in the rivers.

Tuition frozen at N.H.community colleges

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The board of trustees of the Community College System of New Hampshire says it is freezing tuition for the 2013-14 academic year at its seven colleges.

The trustees’ unanimous decision Thursday marks the fourth time since 2006 that New Hampshire’s community colleges have not raised tuition.

Ross Gittell, chancellor of the system, said holding the line on educational costs is critical to advance New Hampshire’s economy. He said by keeping community colleges affordable, opportunities are expanded for New Hampshire residents to gain higher education and workforce skills, improve their lives and employment prospects and support economic growth in the state.

In-state tuition for 2013-14 will remain at $210 per credit. A community college student will pay $5,040 in annual tuition for a minimum full-time course load.