State Government

Vermont stiffed in flood mitigation funding

A proposal for FEMA to buy out the Timber Inn Motel near the Okemo Ski area was rejected. TimberInnmotel.com photo.

By Guy Page

Among the 788 of ‘flood mitigation’ projects considered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), only two were from Vermont – and both were rejected. 

Vermont will receive 0 dollars from the $1.16 billion program aimed at protecting homes and communities from the ravages of flooding. 

In August 2011, Hurrican Irene killed seven people and “dumped up to 11 inches of rain, destroyed nearly $750 million in property (a figure equal to almost two-thirds of that year’s state general fund budget) and damaged 200 bridges, 450 utility poles, 600 historic buildings, 1,000 culverts, 2,400 road segments, 3,500 homes and 20,000 acres of farmland,” according to a 10 year retrospective in August, 2021 by Kevin O’Connor in VTDigger.

But despite these losses, and the oft-heard claim that climate change will cause more flooding in the future, Vermont’s risk of frequent repetitive flood damage may not have been deemed as severe as other states’. 

“The focus is on mitigating Severe Repetitive Loss and Repetitive Loss properties that have incurred multiple flood losses and NFIP claim payments,” a FEMA statement said. “In addition, funded projects will reduce flood risk in communities disproportionately impacted by flooding.”

The two Vermont applications – both rejected – were Vermont State Management Costs and the Timber Inn Buyout in Ludlow. No proposed amounts were listed.

Major funding totaling over $47 million went to these flood mitigation projects:

  • Beaumont, Texas – These projects include detention ponds and drainage projects in Jefferson County Drainage District.
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana – To improve drainage using culverts around the Louisiana State University Lakes community.
  • Three Forks, Montana – A communitywide mitigation project will expand culvert and storage pond capacity to mitigate flooding, protect nearly 1,000 structures from flooding, and yield multiple ancillary benefits including wildfire and drought.
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey – A series of pump stations and bulkheads will reduce frequent flooding and improve access for 24 million visitors of Atlantic City annually, the 38,000 city residents and the thousands of people who work in the city. Residents benefiting from the project represent some of the highest socially vulnerable populations in the county based on American Community Census Survey data measuring factors including socioeconomic status, disability, minority status, and both housing and transportation factors.

Categories: State Government

1 reply »

  1. The Feds weren’t stingy. They were smart enough to know Vermont was padding the books, looking for a handout. — And all kinds of regulations were dropped by the state to speed up repairs, and nothing bad has come of that. So I assume the regulations are not needed, and serve only to protect the government jobs. Real smart people in government would have been calling for the end of the regulations that obviously serve no public purpose.

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