Better Connections Program

The Better Connections (BC) Program aligns state and local investments to increase transportation options, build resilience, and strengthen economic vitality in Vermont’s community centers.   The BC Program is funded through the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) . Municipalities annually compete for approximately $200,000 in projects funds. A 10% local cash match is required. 

This year, the BC Program expanded its partnership to include funding and staff support from the Agency of Natural Resources, Clean Water Fund and the Vermont Department of Health.  Applicants will have the opportunity to apply for additional funds to support projects that improve water quality by reducing nutrient and sediment pollution and to apply for additional "quick build" grants to accelerate the implementation of projects that support public health, physical activity, and access to healthy food to prevent chronic conditions.

The program supports implementation-focused, municipal planning initiatives that:

  • Provide safe, multi-modal and resilient transportation systems that supports the Vermont economy

  • Support downtown and village economic development and revitalization efforts

  • Lead directly to project implementation 

The program funds various types of master planning for regions, downtowns and villages, neighborhoods, streets and corridors.  Master planning engages communities in a process that evaluates enhancements such as improved multimodal connectivity, active transportation and complete streets, access management, traffic calming, parking, wayfinding, rehabilitation of buildings, or redevelopment of sites, housing, land use, stormwater management, and zoning bylaw and form-based code development.  In addition to the physical master plan, there can be a corresponding economic and marketing plan to ensure the market viability of the proposed improvements and inform the municipality's capital planning.  The plans are action-oriented and lay out a strategic implementation plan for both short-term and long-term public and private investments.

The Better Connections Program was an outgrowth of the 2013 Smart Growth American Report, Strengthening Vermont's Economy by Integrating Transportation amd Smart Growth Policy.  The  program is a collaborative effort made possible through diverse partnerships and funding sources.  The program is primarily funded by the federal transportation  legislation Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, under an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration, with additional staff support and funding provided by the State of Vermont, Agency of Transportation, Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Agency of Natural Resources, and Department of Health.  To learn more, visit the Better Connections story map.  

Program Updates

Key Program Dates 2019-2021

Date Event
November 2, 2018
Grant Announcement
December 31, 2018
Pre-application Meeting Deadline & RPC Confirmation of Municipal Planning Process
January 31, 2019
Application Deadline
March 15, 2019
Award Decisions Announced
December 1, 2020 Project Completion

Applicant Resources

BC Program Contact Information

Jackie Cassino | Planning Coordinator
Policy, Planning & Intermodal Development
Vermont Agency of Transportation
Richard Amore | Planning & Project Manager
Community Planning + Revitalization
Agency of Commerce and Community Development