$5 Mil­lion Emer­gency Aid Ap­proved for Storm-dam­aged Ver­mont Roads and Bridges

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS -

Burling­ton, VT

The

U.S. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion re­leased $5 mil­lion in emer­gency funds to re­build and re­pair roads and bridges de­stroyed or dam­aged in Ver­mont by Trop­i­cal Storm Irene, Ver­mont’s con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion an­nounced to­day.

U.S. Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Ray LaHood on Tues­day evening no­ti­fied U.S. Sen. Bernie San­ders (I-Vt.), a mem­ber of the Se­nate Trans­porta­tion and In­fra­struc­ture Sub­com­mit­tee. San­ders had been in dis­cus­sion with LaHood to ex­plain the mag­ni­tude of the de­struc­tion in Ver­mont and to con­vey the state’s need for emer­gency help.

San­ders said, “I want to thank Sec­re­tary of Trans­porta­tion Ray LaHood for his quick re­sponse to pro­vid­ing emer­gency help to Ver­mont in our time of need. Sec­re­tary LaHood has a strong un­der­stand­ing of the mag­ni­tude of the dis­as­ter that has struck Ver­mont and the need for im­me­di­ate fed­eral help and I ap­pre­ci­ate that very much. While no one can yet es­ti­mate the full ex­tent of the dam­age and de­struc­tion that Ver­mont has suf­fered, it is likely that the long-term cost of re­build­ing our roads, bridges, rail lines, busi­nesses, homes and pub­lic build­ings will be in the hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars. For Ver­mont’s re­build­ing ef­fort to be suc­cess­ful, there is no ques­tion but that there will have to be strong co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and the state. Sen. Leahy, Rep. Welch and I will be work­ing as hard as we can to make that hap­pen.”

Leahy said, “Never in my life have I wit­nessed this much de­struc­tion in our state, and it breaks my heart to see it. I am grate­ful to Sec­re­tary LaHood and the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion for their prompt re­sponse to this dis­as­ter. The peo­ple of Ver­mont are re­silient, but even the strong­est among us can use a help­ing hand. This emer­gency aid will help to start re­build­ing the many roads and bridges all over Ver­mont that were de­stroyed in the flood­ing. As Ver­mon­ters move for­ward, look­ing to each other for sup­port, I will con­tinue to do ev­ery­thing in my power, along with Sen­a­tor San­ders and Con­gress­man Welch, to se­cure aid for the state and to see that all lev­els of gov­ern­ment come to­gether to ef­fec­tively bol­ster the ef­forts of neigh­bors and friends as we all work to come to terms with this tragedy.”

Welch said, “This is wel­come news to Ver­mont. The dam­age to pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture is im­mense and this will help us be­gin to re­build. We have more work to do. Trav­el­ing around the state, I am meet­ing small busi­ness own­ers who have lost their liveli­hoods, em­ploy­ees who have lost their jobs, farm­ers who have had their crops washed away, and in­di­vid­u­als whose homes are ru­ined. We have a long re­cov­ery ahead of us, and more as­sis­tance will be vi­tal. Ver­mont has al­ways re­sponded to times of great hard­ship by work­ing to­gether. We will do so again. I thank Sec­re­tary LaHood for the quick action and look for­ward to work­ing with Sens. Leahy and San­ders as well as Gov. Shum­lin to make sure the nec­es­sary as­sis­tance gets to Ver­mont quickly.”

The emer­gency funds help pay for the re­pair and re­con­struc­tion of fed­eral high­ways and bridges that have suf­fered se­ri­ous dam­age as a re­sult of the storm. The funds are for im­me­di­ate re­sponses to re­pair storm dam­age and will not re­duce the amount Ver­mont may ul­ti­mately re­ceive if, as ex­pected, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama de­clares a fed­eral dis­as­ter in the state.

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Hy­dro Que­bec trucks could be seen trav­el­ling down Ver­mont’s high­way 91, last Satur­day, bring­ing needed re­lief to re­pair crews.

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