Vermont seeks federal aid for flooding

MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott has requested federal disaster funds to assist communities in up to seven Vermont counties in paying for repairs to public infrastructure damaged in severe storms on June 29 through July 1. Communities in Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Orange, Rutland, Washington, and Windsor counties sustained damages that meet or exceed minimum thresholds to qualify for a Public Assistance disaster declaration.
“I commend state and town road crews for their hard work on repairs to ensure safe passage for Vermonters and visitors,” said Gov. Scott in a press release late last week. “The bill for that work will be significant and, in many cases, would be detrimental to annual public works budgets. This storm has clearly placed a financial burden on towns and a federal disaster declaration is warranted.”
A Preliminary Damage Assessment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that started on July 12 identified $4.7 million in public infrastructure damage, far exceeding the $1 million minimum Vermont must show to be considered for a disaster declaration. Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Orange, Rutland, Washington and Windsor counties each exceeded the $3.61 per capita threshold needed to qualify cities and towns in those counties for assistance.
If granted, a Public Assistance disaster declaration would allow communities in declared counties to receive 75 percent reimbursement for storm response and recovery. Those costs include repairs to public roads, bridges, and other infrastructure damaged during the storm.
Scott’s request was sent to FEMA for review. FEMA will send a recommendation to President Donald Trump, who has ultimate authority to approve or reject the request.
The declaration request also seeks funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which provides 75 percent reimbursement for projects that reduce the likelihood of damage to public infrastructure in future disasters.

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