WASHINGTON, July 26 – The U.S. Department of Transportation released $1 million for emergency repairs to roads and bridges damaged in a series of strong storms that struck Vermont earlier this year. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx notified Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Governor Peter Shumlin (D-Vt.).
“This is a much-needed infusion of federal funds to help towns throughout Vermont repair roads washed out by several storms this year. We appreciate Secretary Foxx and the U.S. Department of Transportation for responding so promptly to Vermont’s urgent request,” they said in a joint statement.
Beginning in May and continuing into July, a succession of storms brought heavy rainfall and flash flooding that resulted in road closures throughout Vermont. Some 30 separate road segments were closed due to damage from the storms. In particular, a shoulder section of I-89 southbound in Williston was damaged, causing the closure of one lane and leading to severe backups. A section of Manhattan Drive in the Burlington was washed out, and a section of Vermont Route 15 in the Town of Essex experienced slope failure. The following counties were affected by these storms: Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, and Windsor.
The federal emergency repair program provides funds for the reconstruction of federal-aid roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events. These funds are awarded to a state after the president or a governor issues a formal emergency declaration and the state files a request for ER help for the cost of damages to its eligible highways. Eligible repair work includes emergency repairs needed to restore essential traffic, to minimize the extent of damage, or to protect the remaining facilities, as well as permanent repairs necessary to restore the highway to its pre-disaster condition.
Also on Friday, Leahy, Sanders and Welch wrote to President Obama, supporting Governor Shumlin’s request for disaster assistance for flood damage sustained during the period of June 25 through July 11.