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Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin late last week signed a $612.6 million transportation budget for fiscal-year 2017 that includes $33.4 million for rail projects.The rail funds represent a $1.7 million increase — or 5 percent — over FY2016, according to a press release issued by Shumlin's office. The budget will invest $4.1 million of state and federal funds into track and bridge improvements on the Western corridor between Burlington and Rutland. The projects are designed to increase train speed and track safety.In addition, the budget will provide $4.5 million to upgrade 12 crossings on the Western corridor. Those projects will involve safety equipment installation.The budget will continue state support for Amtrak's Vermonter and Ethan Allen routes, and will invest in the expansion of the Ethan Allen service to Burlington, state officials said.
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