Vermont share 25% of federal disaster funding

Brookfield Floating Bridge lost

Workers today at the State Emergency Operations Center, newly relocated to high ground at the David Dill building at the State Airport in Berlin. The permanent Emergency Operations Center at the Waterbury State Complex reportedly was continuously open and active but at times inaccessible due to surrounding flooding. Page photo

by Guy Page

Vermont will pay 25% of of the federal disaster relief package being discussed today by FEMA and state officials.

As this news story is being written at 12:51 PM, Gov. Phil Scott and Federal Emergency Management Administrator Deanne Criswell are flying across Vermont, evaluating the damage wrought so far by this week’s flooding. President Biden has signed a federal emergency declaration for Vermont. The amount of the funding depends on the extent of the damage, FEMA officials said at a press conference today.

FEMA funds are designed to flow directly to the executive branch, so legislative action won’t be needed. It’s unlikely the administration will seek to rework the 2024 budget due to flood-related funding pressures.

However, the Legislature is scheduled to return briefly in October to consider the impeachment of two Franklin County elected officials, the sheriff and the state’s attorney. Any changes to the 2024 state budget in light of the flood could be considered then.

Secretary of Transportation Joe Flynn announced a relatively good piece of news for the longterm recovery: only two bridges statewide are known to be lost, compared to a much higher number during Storm Irene in 2011. The iconic Floating Bridge in Brookfield (which survived Irene) and a bridge on Rte. 132 in Vershire, a small Orange County town, were destroyed.

Highway infrastructure has fared much better this week than during Irene, in part because immediately after that storm the State of Vermont put river engineers and highway engineers in the same cubicles and instructed them to work together to minimize future flood damage, Flynn said.

Statewide, 46 roads are still closed. 33 other roads were re-opened. Seven roads are partially closed.

Shelter use by Vermonters made homeless by the flood is significantly below capacity: Barre Auditorium, 58 people. Cavendish and Woodstock shelters, 0. Rutland High School, 4. Hartford High School, 3. Ludlow, 8. Smugglers Notch, 45 – reflecting Lamoille County as today’s ‘hot spot’ of search and rescue.

Categories: Weather

6 replies »

  1. Route 132 doesn’t go through Vershire. You’d think the secy. of Transportation would be advised of that fact. Norwich to Thetford to Strafford to Tunbridge.

  2. The taxpayers of Vermont will be on the hook for 25% of what FEMA decides to cover? Do you suppose the legislature is wishing they hadn’t spent Vermont’s budget surplus already?

    • I doubt they have a care in the world. They’ll simply raise taxes yet again.

  3. Mud, water, chaos and stench kinda puts the heat pump and solar company motherload, the child care money pile, the PCB-in-schools hornswoggle, and Constitutional abortion hoo-haa all in perspective, yes?

  4. The coming days, weeks and months will prove where the rubber meets the washed out roads. Reports say State buildings in Montpelier are closed indefinately. Third party vendors being hired in haste to help. Mutual aid called in from all over the country. Above all that, the Feds are here – no worries! If there was ever a bondoogle to witness similar to how Katrina was handled in New Orleans, this may prove on par with what I’ve seen thus far from leadership. There is a distinct, intuitive smell around this and it’s not from the flood waters. My prayers and gratitude go out to the good people doing good work to sincerely help. My laser focus is on our leadership and their running around like chickens with their heads cut off. They appear like deer in the headlights and tripping over their scripted talking points. Leaders or puppets?

  5. How about FEMA funding NONE of Vermont’s flood recovery?
    Ingrates. Let’s see all the pissing and moaning then.

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