« Return to Community Liaison Corner

Considering the Future of Vermont 22A An Introduction and an Update

June 2, 2023

Considering the Future of Vermont 22A
An Introduction and an Update

This year and next will likely prove to be a pivotal period in the ongoing debate about how to reduce the impact of truck traffic traveling Vermont’s Route 22A through Vergennes.

If you’ve been following the progress of the Vergennes PEL Study—PEL stands for Planning & Environment Linkages; we’ll get into that in a future update—you’ll be familiar with the general outline of the study but perhaps not with the full scope of the PEL process and the study team’s goals in following this process.

And you probably have questions and concerns about the alternative roadways under consideration.

Your Community Liaison

My name is Jim Gish and I joined the team conducting the PEL Study in April to serve as your Community Liaison on the study. My job in essence is designed to ensure two things:

  1. That all community members fully understand the goals and process of the PEL Study; and
  2. That all community voices are heard by the study team.

By “community,” we mean those who live, work, and travel through Panton, Waltham, Addison, New Haven, and Ferrisburgh as well as Vergennes.

I’ve lived in Addison County for 25 years now and helped pioneer the role of Community Liaison in state transportation projects when I served from 2016 to 2021 as Community Liaison for the Middlebury Bridge & Rail Project. That’s me in the photo below on Merchants Row during construction.

The Power of Partnerships

That project was very different from the Vergennes PEL Study. But a critical lesson learned was the value of partnerships.

In Middlebury’s case, the partnership between the town and the state brought Amtrak service to Middlebury and revitalized our downtown infrastructure.

More important, perhaps, it brought the community together to think deeply about the future of its downtown.

Next Steps

As I did in Middlebury, I plan to meet regularly with residents, the business community, town leaders, and a wide range of civic groups for a candid discussion of issues and concerns. I’ll then share those issues and concerns with the Vermont Agency of Transportation, Addison County Regional Planning Commission, and the PEL Study team. And I’ll share them with you through regular updates of this community blog.

In the meantime, you can reach me with questions at any time by email at jgish@vhb.com.