NEWS: Sanders Secures More Than $42.5 Million for Vermont Communities in Senate Appropriations Bill

BURLINGTON, Vt., March 18 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced on Monday that he secured more than $42.5 million in federal funding on behalf of 36 Vermont projects that address critical needs across the state, including in affordable housing, child care, infrastructure, clean energy and water, and rural development.

The funding for Sanders’ Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) projects was included in the first package of the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bills that passed the U.S. Senate on Friday, March 8 and was signed into law by President Biden the following day. The $460 billion package was passed in time to avoid a government shutdown of many key federal agencies.

“Through this process, I am always glad to work with Vermonters across our state to identify and secure funding for critical projects that would have a real and positive benefit for our communities,” said Sanders. “In these difficult times, too many have lost hope that government is listening to what they need and taking real action on their behalf. I was proud to see these projects through the Senate and look forward to seeing them have a real, meaningful impact in Vermont communities and in the daily lives of Vermonters across our state – as quickly as possible.”

Sanders continued, “Not only is it good news that this federal funding is coming to Vermont – the other good news is that we’re not done yet. That is because this money that we’re discussing today is just the first six funding bills. We have more bills to pass when we return to Washington this week.”

The funding package includes: $2,500,000 for manufactured housing throughout Vermont; $2.5 million to install advanced electric meters across the state, which will help manage the delivery of renewable power to Vermonters; $2.3 million to repurpose the Rochester High School building into a multi-use community resource center; and $1.1 million to construct a new emergency services building for the Woodbury Volunteer Fire Department.

See below for more details and some highlights on Sanders’ projects. For the full list of Sanders’ funded FY24 projects included in the first of two appropriations packages, see here.

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies

  • Washington Electric Cooperative (WEC) Advanced Metering Infrastructure: $2,500,000 
    This funding will support the purchase and installation of advanced electric meters at the WEC’s 11,800 metering locations, managing the delivery of renewable power, improving power restoration times after outages, and helping member-owners deploy energy efficient technologies. 

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

  • Town of Franklin for Water System Alternate Source Project: $595,000 
    This funding will enable the construction of a new well in Franklin to increase potable water capacity and ensure an adequate supply of safe drinking water.
  • Tri-Town Water District 1 for Water System Upgrades: $1,200,000 
    This funding will upgrade the Tri-Town Water District #1’s treatment facility and improve and replace critical sections of its water distribution system. 
  • Williston Woods Cooperative Housing Corporation for Stormwater Infrastructure Upgrades: $490,000
    This funding will allow Williston Woods Cooperative Housing to construct 10 drainage areas to limit stormwater runoff into Lake Champlain.  
  • Cooperative Development Institute for North Avenue Co-op Infrastructure Upgrades: $1,800,000 
    This funding will support the Cooperative Development Institute’s efforts to replace the North Avenue Co-op’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure.
  • Old Church Theater for Restoration of the Old Church Theater Building: $140,000 
    This funding will allow the Old Church Theater to install accessibility and infrastructure upgrades to create a modern year-round performing arts facility that is accessible to all members of the community. 

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

  • Manufactured Home Community Improvement Fund: $2,500,000 
    With this funding, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board will bolster current initiatives for manufactured housing communities (MHCs) in Vermont, increasing the sustainability of a critical housing resource for low- and moderate-income Vermonters.
  • Danville Pedestrian and Bike Pathways: $1,533,000 
    With this funding, the Town of Danville will expand walk and bike infrastructure in downtown Danville through constructing new sidewalks and bike and pedestrian pathways that will improve pedestrian safety and connect important businesses and community facilities to the nearby Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.
  • O’Brien Community Center: $1,000,000 
    With this funding, the City of Winooski will renovate and expand an existing public facility to strengthen services for low-income Vermonters in Winooski, including the community health center, public library, and dental care center.
  • Improving Shared Equity Homeownership for Vermonters: $2,500,000 
    With this funding, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board will expand affordable, land trust/shared equity homeownership opportunities to low- and moderate-income Vermonters statewide.
  • Bellows Falls Amtrak Station Platform Reconstruction: $1,000,000 
    With this funding, Vermont Agency of Transportation will reconstruct an Amtrak station platform in Bellows Falls to bring the platform into compliance with ADA requirements. 

Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies

  • Canaan Cooperative Child Development Center: $75,000
    With this funding, Northeast Kingdom Community Action will transform a prior health care clinic into a childcare development center so that 10-12 families in Canaan, Vermont can have access to quality, affordable child care and support services Monday through Friday.
  • Woodbury Volunteer Fire Department Emergency Services Building: $1,125,000
    With this funding, the Woodbury Volunteer Fire Department will build a new emergency services building to house and maintain all of the Woodbury Volunteer Fire Department’s equipment, as well as provide space for training and meetings.
  • Northfield Senior Center Expansion: $151,000
    With this funding, Greater Northfield Seniors will expand the Northfield Senior Center, providing a larger main meeting area as well as space for classes and clinics.
  • Rochester High School Repurposing Project: $2,329,000
    With this funding, the Town of Rochester will repurpose the Rochester High School building into a multi-use community resource facility to fill gaps in local services and serve low- and moderate-income people in a geographically isolated area.
  • East Berkshire Fire District 1 for Water Source Capacity Project: $600,000
    With the requested funding, the East Berkshire Fire District 1 will conduct drinking water source exploration activities to expand the community’s drinking water capacity.

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

  • Youth Services, Inc.: $979,000
    This funding will allow Youth Services, Inc. to create and staff a new community restorative justice center and expand programming.
  • Center for Council Vermont Public Safety Project: $1,900,000
    This funding will support the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to retain the services of the Center for Council, a Los Angeles, California-based, non-profit for resources and training that have been proven to cultivate health, wellness, and pro-social communication skills, improve agency culture, reduce criminogenic factors, and enhance police-community relations.
  • Community Justice Center (CJC): $300,000
    This funding will support the Burlington CJC’s community presence so that more residents have access to its resources by providing funding to equip and furnish the new space in The Post Apartments building, which provides convenient access for community members in need.