Governor Peter Shumlin announced yesterday the the Federal Department of Transportation has released $5 million in emergency funds to help Vermont rebuild and repair roads and bridges destroyed or damaged. The money will be available for assistance immediately.
Gov. Shumlin formally requested a major disaster declaration from President Obama today to cover public assistance to help with infrastructure repairs in all Vermont counties except Grand Isle, and individual assistance for homeowners and businesses in counties where early assessments have been completed. Because assessments continue in some counties – particularly in hard-hit southern Vermont – a supplemental request will follow to add those areas.
The public assistance request encompasses road, bridge and rail damage in Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor counties. The initial individual declaration includes Chittenden, Washington, Rutland, and Windsor counties. It is expected that a supplemental request will add other counties, such as Windham and Orange, as assessors continue to tally the damage across Vermont from Tropical Storm Irene. Those additional requests will be added as quickly as possible.
“We need to get the federal assistance approved and into the state as quickly as possible,” Gov. Shumlin said in a news release. He noted that the state has already received an Emergency Declaration for Federal Assistance, which provided immediate assistance to begin getting emergency disaster relief efforts in place. Today’s response begins a more formal process of seeking full assistance for roads, bridges, homeowners and businesses, and other relief work.