Irene funding stripped out of Sandy relief bill - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Irene funding stripped out of Sandy relief bill

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

A nearly 51-billion dollar emergency aid bill for Hurricane Sandy victims passed the U.S. House Tuesday night, but republicans stripped Irene relief for Vermont.

The bill contained provisions giving FEMA authority to help even more with the relocation and construction costs of the Vermont state hospital after Tropical Storm Irene, and to help rebuild bridges and culverts to withstand future storms.

Right now, FEMA and insurance will pay 30-million of the 43-million estimated for the new hospital system.

House Republicans removed all funding -- unrelated to Hurricane Sandy -- from the emergency aid bill. Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding tells Channel 3 News this will not change the state's current construction plans, but it could impact federal funding splits between towns and the state.

Taxpayers could be left paying more for construction. The measure passed by the House goes back to the U.S. Senate Tuesday. Senator Leahy's office says it's unclear if Irene relief can or will be added back in and overcome House Republican objections.

Spaulding says he's not totally surprised by this and that the state and our Congressional Delegation are still trying to get more money for Irene relief out of FEMA.

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