Gov. Phil Scott has formally asked for at least $2 million in federal disaster aid to deal with flood damage from a pair of storms in April.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has verified that damage from the rainstorms — which resulted in high water and washed-out roads from Essex County to Bennington County, and damaged several roads in Duxbury — exceeds the $1 million threshold required for a disaster declaration request.
“This was a destructive event and it will be tough for these towns to recover,” Scott said. “Emergency responders did an outstanding job protecting the public from harm during the floods, and road crews have worked hard since then to rebuild.
“Recovery has been and will continue to be long and expensive, so communities are very much in need of federal assistance.”
All told, eight of Vermont’s 14 counties had flood damage severe enough to trigger disaster aid from a pair of storms April 15-16 and April 20-21.
If approved, the declaration provides a 75 percent federal reimbursement to communities for storm response and recovery, including repairs to public roads, bridges and utilities.
In Duxbury, the heavy rain combined with snow melt and sent Ridley Brook gushing beyond its banks, causing several washouts on Camels Hump Road.
In addition, officials with the Vermont Office of Emergency Management surveyed damage to Scrabble Hill, Richardson and Marshall roads.
The decision to grant Scott’s disaster declaration request rests with President Trump, who has demonstrated a capricious streak toward such requests. In March 2017, he refused a $7 million request from Pennsylvania after 30 inches of snow fell across the state; the previous month, he approved a winter-storm disaster declaration from Utah for $6 million.
“We’re trying to do all we can to secure the funding,” Scott said. “We’ve far exceeded the threshold and I believe we will receive the funding, but you never know in this day and age. We’re just doing what we can, but I have confidence.”
In the short term, however, the Federal Highway Administration has approved $500,000 in aid for emergency repairs while the disaster request is pending.