MONTPELIER – The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) will receive $500,000 in emergency relief funding from the federal Dept. of Transportation to repair damage to Vermont highways in the wake of last month’s heavy rains and flooding.
Those funds, according to a statement from Gov. Phil Scott’s office, will support repairs to roads in the federal highway system that were damaged when a storm last Halloween brought record flooding to parts of Northwest Vermont.
“This funding is a critical step toward restoring Vermont’s infrastructure after this devastating storm,” Scott said in a written statement. “I’m grateful to all of the emergency responders and road crews for their ongoing service in these efforts.”
According to Scott’s office, the Halloween storm caused more than $5 million in damage to state, local and federal roads in Vermont.
Additional funding will likely follow the initial $500,000 in emergency funding as VTrans begins long term repairs to roads within the federal highway system. According to Scott’s office, repairs for more heavily damaged roads will likely extend into the next two years.
“The state has placed a high priority on emergency management planning, particularly since Tropical Storm Irene in 2011,” Vermont Secretary of Transportation Joe Flynn wrote in a statement. “We were prepared for this, we activated swiftly, and our crews out in the field worked diligently to get roadways reopened as quickly as possible.”
According to Scott’s office, the governor is also planning to make a formal request for a federal disaster declaration, which would allow municipalities to tap federal funding for 75 percent of the cost of responding to flooding and the ensuing repairs.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has already completed the damage assessments needed for determining qualification under a federal disaster declaration, according to Scott’s office.
Communities in Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans and Washington counties will be considered for funding from FEMA for repairs to local public infrastructure.