The state of Vermont filed an appeal back in December after the Federal Emergency Management Agency rejected full funding for projects, like a culvert in Townshend, because they did not meet codes and standards the federal agency uses. In the disputed cases, towns used larger replacement culverts to protect from future storm damage.
State and local officials testifying before lawmakers Wednesday say while FEMA has been very cooperative with funding the initial 90 percent of Irene-related infrastructure damage, the last 10 percent has been frustrating. State officials say nearly $10 million in Irene transportation projects are short-funded or haven't even been started because of uncertainty about FEMA funding.
"We have a bridge that's better and will last longer than what FEMA had proposed. So, the irony here is just incredible in just dealing with-- trying to get an understanding of why a government organization wouldn't approve something like this. It's just no common sense," said Brad Atwood, a member of the Sharon select board.
"FEMA has 90 days at the maximum to respond, but we sure wish we had answers sooner as towns are preparing their municipal budgets. The biggest issue is, what is the federal government going to reimburse theses towns," said Sue Minter, Vermont's Irene Recovery Officer.
FEMA has ruled-- at the regional level-- that it won't pay for the larger culverts, saying the state standards are not consistently applied.
"Certainly FEMA understands the position of towns who find themselves caught between FEMA's regulations and the state's regulations. Unfortunately, our hands are tied by federal law," said David Mace, a spokesman for FEMA.
A final FEMA decision is expected in mid-March. Till then, towns that still have projects pending will have to file for an extension or lose all hope of federal assistance.
On a related issue, FEMA officials said Wednesday they hope to complete the funding arrangements on the Waterbury office complex by the end of the month. That amount has not been announced.
Friday, April 18 2014 12:00 AM EDT2014-04-18 04:00:59 GMT
Police are searching for clues after a homemade bottle bomb was found at a park in Keene New Hampshire. On Wednesday workers were doing spring clean-up at Wheelock park when they found a 55-gallon drumMore >>
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Thursday, April 17 2014 11:58 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:58:40 GMT
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Thursday, April 17 2014 11:08 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:08:04 GMT
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Thursday, April 17 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:58:26 GMT
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Thursday, April 17 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:26:34 GMT
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to...More >>
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Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:16 GMT
A teenager has been arrested for making a bomb threat in St. Albans. Police say the threat was made to Project SOAR, an alternative school, Wednesday morning. The building was searched and no bomb wasMore >>
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Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:01 GMT
A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington. Police say Grace Maddaloni, 88, disappeared Wednesday after what they called a "disagreement." Because of her age and being in theMore >>
A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington.More >>