WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Saturday announced that a number of investments in Vermont projects that he requested were approved by Senate Appropriations subcommittees this week, paving the way for initiatives in the state to receive nearly $9.5 million in federal funding. Additional appropriations requests made by Sen. Sanders continue to make their way through the committee approval process and can be reviewed here.
“This is a difficult time for many Vermonters and their communities,” Sen. Sanders said. “In consultation with Vermont advocates throughout the state, we have worked to secure funding which will bring real and positive change to our state.”
The action taken by the subcommittees on Sen. Sanders’ Congressionally Directed Spending requests so far totals about $9,374,000, and will meet needs across the state in areas relating to agriculture, energy, and the National Guard when approved by Congress.
For more details on the approved funding, see below:
Vermont National Guard
Vermont National Guard Family Programs Building – $4.66 million
This project, which builds off Sen. Sanders’ long-standing history of supporting Vermont guard members, veterans, and their families, will allow the Vermont National Guard to construct a new facility to house their Family Programs at the Vermont National Guard Headquarters (Camp Johnson) in Colchester, VT. This will enable the Family Programs to move from an outdated, unsuitable, pre-World War II barracks into a facility specifically designed for its mission to provide education, support, and resources to the Vermont Guard and their families, including financial counseling, family assistance, career counseling, as well as classes and camps for children. Included in the new Family Programs building will be the Vermont Veterans Outreach Program, originally funded through a Sanders request.
Expanding Solar Research and Generation for a Brighter Energy Future – $150,000
This funding will enable the installation of a new solar testing array in Burlington for joint research and workforce development by Burlington Electric Department, the University of Vermont, Vermont Technical College, and other partners.
Northeast Kingdom Neighborhood Clean Heat Deployment – $500,000
This funding will go to NeighborWorks of Western Vermont’s HEAT Squad to expand their work in the Northeast Kingdom. Sen. Sanders authored the federal program that provided $4.5 million in Department of Energy funding to begin the HEAT Squad in 2010. The HEAT Squad provides one-stop shopping for Vermonters to weatherize their homes and install renewables, by helping them navigate technology and financing options. Sen. Leahy (D-Vt.) also submitted this request.
Sustainable Energy in Schools and Public Buildings – $1,000,000
The Vermont Public Service Department’s Clean Energy Development Fund will use this funding to help schools and other public buildings install solar and other renewables.
Vermont Electrification and Clean Energy Deployment – $1,000,000
This project will help small businesses and homeowners switch from fossil fuels to cleaner electricity and renewables, through the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority (VPPSA), representing cooperative and municipal electric utilities.
Salisbury Square Redevelopment – $750,000
Randolph Area Regional Development Corporation will use this funding to develop a cutting-edge direct-current solar and storage microgrid that would fully connect new affordable homes and rental units being developed in the area. This project will lower energy costs for homeowners and tenants, keep electricity flowing even when the rest of the grid loses power during storms, and allow the local electric utility to tap into the battery storage when needed. Sen. Leahy also submitted this request.
Vermont Dairy Research and Education Program – $500,000
This project is a partnership of Interlace Commons, the Catchment Care Applied Research Network (CCARN), and Middlebury College to develop a program to combine important agricultural research with community events that will bring people together to support and strengthen our local farms. With this funding, farms across the state will be enrolled in a soil health research network and host educational outreach events on farms throughout Vermont.
Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care – $500,000
This project expands telehealth services to under-served geographic regions, individuals, and health care providers, distributing 1,000 tablets and 350 WiFi boosters to Vermonters in need across all 14 Vermont counties, including those who utilize FQHCs for their care, filling needs in both the health care and broadband space.
Child care and Early Education Expansion at the Alburgh Family Clubhouse – $189,000
The funding will enable the Alburgh Family Clubhouse to build 40 child care slots – 10 infant, 10 toddler, 20 pre-school. Afterschool programming will also be provided in partnership with the nearby Alburgh Public Library. This funding will make a huge difference to the area, which does not currently have sufficient child care or pre-school slots.
Castleton Library Accessibility Improvement Project – $125,000
The Castleton library will use this funding to install a full-size elevator to allow library users to reach the main floor of the library from the lower floor.