The Senate today passed S. 154, a bill that will fully fund the town highway aid payments in April 2009. The Douglas Administration and the Legislature had previously agreed to withhold half of the $3 million, quarterly payment because of the state’s fiscal situation. The state’s Transportation Fund revenues continue to sag. The Transportation Fund in March was $400,000 below its target. The reaction from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, which lobbies on behalf of municipalities, was unequivocally opposed to the cuts because it would force the towns to either cut highway projects or raise taxes. Vermonters can not afford to let their local roads and bridges fall into a further state of disrepair or pay higher property taxes, saidSenator Mazza, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. By passing this bill, the Senate has ensured that town s will not be forced to defer construction maintenance or raise Vermonters property taxes. It has been the Senate s intent all along to fully fund the towns with their April payments, said Senator Peter Shumlin. Towns will be able to use these much needed funds to pave our roads, repair our bridges and create good paying jobs for Vermonters.The bill passed the Senate, 26 to 0, and now moves to the House for consideration.