State will use stimulus money for water projects, school construction (Vermont Public Radio)

Bob Kinzel reporting from Montpelier, VT

(Host intro) Federal money will help Vermont upgrade water treatment plants, improve town drinking water facilities and pay for school construction.

The money is being allocated through the 2010 capital bill that won final approval in the House today.

VPR's Bob Kinzel tracks the federal stimulus money in this report.

(Kinzel) The capital bill traditionally reflects the long-term bonding needs of the state of Vermont. This year it achieves that goal, but it also includes a group of projects that will be financed with new federal stimulus money.

The main section of the bill authorizes $70 million in bonds to address major renovations to state office buildings and courthouses. It funds a new state police forensic lab in Waterbury and it pays for a new state archives vault.

The bill also includes almost $46 million in federal stimulus money that will be targeted for water pollution programs and school construction projects.

Springfield Rep. Alice Emmons is the chairwoman of the House Institutions Committee:

(Emmons) "Your Capital bill this year is a bill that really focuses on the investment of the state of Vermont. It focuses on those investments in a variety of ways. The dollars through the capital bill go directly back into our communities. And it's an investment in our tradespeople in the state of Vermont, our contractors in Vermont. And it's also a way of helping our property taxpayers with their burden."

(Kinzel) The capital bill also includes almost $12 million for a variety of programs that are designed to create local jobs and improve the employment skills of younger Vermonters.

It's a plan that was proposed by House Speaker Shap Smith at the beginning of the session:

(Emmons) "We've also included a little different piece in the capital bill this year. We have a Vermont investment program, which is a Vermont stimulus package for our local communities, a way of helping young Vermonters acquire marketable skills and improving our state infrastructure through our parks system."

(Kinzel) The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.