MONTPELIER, Vermont – Vermont’s drinking water and wastewater loan funds will receive a $ 63 million injection from the federal government.
US Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., And Republican Governor Phil Scott announced the funds on Thursday, December 2 in a joint statement.
The money comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which was signed by President Joe Biden in November.
The state’s normal allocation for funds is around $ 15.8 million, bringing funding through programs in 2022 to around $ 80 million.
Eric Blatt, director of engineering in the Water Investments Division of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, said on Friday that the funds are split across several categories. Vermont is receiving $ 30 million for lead service line replacement, $ 8 million for emerging contaminants including, but not limited to, PFAS and PFOA chemicals. Some of the categories for drinking water and wastewater relate to general improvements.
These funds should not be confused with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money, Blatt said. There is no time limit for allocating them.
“It’s not like ARPA where we have a very short period of time, it’s more like traditional (state revolving funds), we’re not supposed to disperse the money in a quick way, it will be rhythmic, âhe said.
While these funds are meant for loans, there are requirements that a percentage of them be treated as grants, which effectively makes them grants, according to Blatt.
âI expect to see an increased volume of projects and this just might be the perhaps limiting factor that the construction trades are not able to keep up with all of the projects that we have on our list,â said Blatt. . “I think part of that is that the grant provisions that go with it will likely stimulate more projects than just the sheer size of the dollars.”
Montpellier city deputy director of public works Kurt Motyka said on Friday the city had two projects awaiting funding under the program.
“We are already preparing preliminary engineering reports through the Clean Water SRF program which queues you for eligibility and I spoke with CED about these projects and we got a grant of about $ 1. , $ 2 million for the Eastern State Street Reconstruction Project (Combined Sewer Overflow) component, âhe said. âAnd we are hoping for additional funding through SRF for this project. It’s a $ 7.2 million project.
Rutland City Mayor David Allaire said the state’s revolving loan funds have been used by the city in the past.
“I would definitely say up front that we would be very interested in this,” he said. “We have a lot of needs here in the city, so I guess our Public Works Commissioner Jim Rotondo is definitely looking into that right now as we talk and reflect on the projects he looks forward to doing here in the city. next few years. “
The city will likely look to ARPA funding for its water projects first, as this is the most clearly qualifying category and the funds are not a loan.
Leahy said in a statement that better water supply and sanitation infrastructure will help alleviate other needs such as housing.
âVermonters across the state have expressed a desire for vibrant, walkable downtown areas where people can leave their homes and walk to local businesses,â he said. âAchieving this vision requires precisely the infrastructure that these investments will fund. “
Leahy is chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“Historic investments included in bipartisan infrastructure law, in addition to the US bailout, provide Vermont with a unique opportunity to invest in our water and sewage infrastructure, which is critical to economic growth.” and ensuring safe and healthy communities, âsaid Scott. He thanked Leahy and the rest of the state congressional delegation for their work. âMy administration has made these types of investments a top priority, and through their work we will be able to have a huge impact on the communities of the 14 counties, helping them to rebuild more prosperous and more resilient. “