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Shumlin discusses flooding aftermath - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Shumlin discusses flooding aftermath

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WATERBURY, Vt. -

After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Gov. Peter Shumlin, VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath.

Shumlin thanked VTrans for their hard work and for preventing any major damage or injury. The state reported 21 roads were closed at some point Tuesday and only nine remained closed by Wednesday evening. But while the situation is improving the governor said a big concern now is the Federal Highway Trust Fund, a fund used by all 50 states for road repairs. It is projected to be depleted by July and Shumlin and state transportation officials are urging Congress to act.

"We're about to let contracts go out for work that's gotta be done, and yet we still don't know that we'll have the federal money to pay the bill when we're done," said Shumlin, D-Vermont.

"We have July staring us in the face. We cannot advance expensive projects unless we know the feds can reimburse us for those, so that's why it's so important we are raising this issue now and there's a lot at risk," said Vermont Agency of Transportation Deputy Secretary Sue Minter

State officials say they aim to put $115 million into road repairs this spring on top of being $9 million overbudget after an extremely rough winter. But they say they cannot do any of the projects they want to do such as exploring new technologies for longer lasting pothole treatment and bridge reconstruction if the Federal Highway Fund falls short.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, stated he invited Minter to testify at a Senate committee hearing last month on the topic and he realizes there is an urgent need for action, what that action will be specifically remains to be seen.

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