Montpelier, VT: 1.4.2019 Government reports – Governor Phil Scott has requested federal disaster funds to assist five Vermont counties in repairing public infrastructure damaged in the recent severe winter storm that began on November 26, 2018. Communities and public utilities in Franklin, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans and Washington Counties sustained damage exceeding the minimum threshold for federal disaster assistance eligibility.

A Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identified $1.1 million in public infrastructure damage in the five affected counties, exceeding the $1 million minimum required for a disaster declaration consideration. Each of the five counties exceeded the $3.78 per capita threshold to qualify communities and public utilities for assistance.

While PDAs assess whether the state and affected counties meet the minimum damage eligibility threshold for a disaster declaration, they do not identify all state damage sustained in an event. Total public infrastructure damage from the storm and resulting power restoration exceeded $1.6 million, including damage in Chittenden, Windsor and Windham Counties. Those three counties, however, did not reach the per capita threshold for inclusion in this request.

If granted, a PDA provides a 75 percent reimbursement to communities for storm response and recovery, including repairs to public roads, bridges and utilities, debris clean-up and other infrastructure repairs.

FEMA will review Governor Scott’s request and make a recommendation to the President, who ultimately approves or rejects the request.

“I want to thank all of the emergency crews across Vermont who worked tirelessly in response to damage caused by this storm,” said Governor Scott. “I also appreciate our federal partners at FEMA, as their support in evaluating damage, and help to secure these funds, is incredibly important in our recovery efforts.”

The declaration request also seeks funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). This federal program grants funding based on a formula of 15 percent of the total federal public assistance. Those funds provide a 75 percent reimbursement for any state projects that reduce the likelihood of damage to public infrastructure in future disasters.