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Governor Proposes Greater Infrastructure Investments
One of the first orders of business every session is to adjust the budget based on additional available funding, changes in program costs, and needs. This year’s Budget Adjustment Act (BAA) recommendations from Governor Scott have emphasized a focus on advancing economic growth statewide, a theme championed by the Vermont Chamber.
In his proposal, the Governor prioritized the needs of rural Vermont, and further communicated his economic development and workforce initiative priorities for this session. These proposals will now be negotiated in committees.
$3M in one-time investments would establish a Rural Infrastructure Assistance Program to provide resources to towns that struggle with the staff capacity to apply for or administer time-sensitive American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant funding. The program would allow small, rural, communities to take advantage of ARPA funding and make essential investments in housing, water, sewer, and broadband. These projects are foundational to the economic vitality of Vermont. New programs are not typically supported in the BAA, but the House Commerce committee will be asked to review this proposal and make a recommendation to House Appropriations.
Other notable items included in the budget adjustment proposal:
- $30M of upfront investments required to secure a $114M federal broadband grant to install 1,663 miles of fiber-optic cable
- $11.2M to the Department of Mental Health to bolster the traveling nurse workforce
- $5M to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) for additional Vermont Housing Improvement Program
- $3M to the Department of Children and Families to continue the transitional housing program, previously funded by the federal CARES Act
- $542,640 of increased funding to ACCD for the Municipal and Regional Planning Fund
- $350,000 to the Agency of Human Services for grantmaking for refugee resettlement organizations
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