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.
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>