The Leahy Letter -- November 2011
As the second-most-senior member of the Appropriations Committee and a senior member of its Transportation subcommittee, Senator Leahy led in securing funding and key cost-waivers that are Vermont’s top priority in Congress in recovering from Tropical Storm Irene. President Obama signed the bill that includes this emergency help on Nov. 18.
These cost-waivers will mean tens of millions of additional dollars for road and bridge repair in Vermont.
Senator Leahy said Vermont’s victory was hard-won. “Back in September some thought this day would never come. The feeling was that a Congress that’s stuck in the slow gear with the brakes on couldn’t or wouldn’t get it done. But this bill has been Job One for Vermont ever since Irene, and we wouldn’t take any answer but yes. On the Appropriations Committee I pressed the importance of this funding and these Vermont waivers. We got it passed and kept the ball rolling steadily forward.”
He added, “We want to get Irene way, way behind us, and this bill will bring that day closer. We face many challenges after Irene, but the damage to our roads, bridges and rail lines is the biggest challenge. Repairing our transportation network is the key to restoring Vermont. We need these emergency funds and these cost waivers because our small state would be stretched too thin to do all of this alone.”
The bill includes $1.662 billion to replenish the Federal Highway Disaster Relief fund, as well as cost-waiver provisions Senator Leahy secured that will allow Vermont to be reimbursed for more than the current $100 million per-state limit on federal emergency highway repair funds and to be reimbursed 100 percent for emergency repairs beyond the current limit of 180 days. These waivers are crucial as Vermont works to recover as Vermont’s repair costs are expected to exceed the $100 million cap.
Press ContactDavid Carle: 202-224-3693
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