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Vt. gets $18.25m more for more Irene road repairs

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- The state of Vermont is planning to spend about $22.5 million to continue with road and bridge repairs of damage caused by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene and other floods in 2011, but before that can happen the Legislature has to appropriate a portion of that figure as the state's match to the federal funding, Deputy Transportation Secretary Sue Minter said Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Transportation funds will be used to make more permanent repairs to a number of culvert and bridge projects on state and federal highways from Chester to Moretown that were fixed temporarily in the immediate aftermath of the 2011 storms, Minter said.

The federal funding is part of $1.1 billion in new emergency relief funding approved by Congress.

Most of the costs of the original, emergency repairs were paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The bulk of the final repairs will be paid for by federal highway funds. The state has to pay a portion and in some cases there are local matches as well, she said.

The federal government is planning to contribute $18.25 million while the state must come up with the rest, Minter said.

Much of the federal funds are for Irene repairs, but they also include damage from other flood emergencies in 2011.

There is some urgency in the repairs because the federal money was appropriated for use in the current fiscal year. The state appropriation needs to be made in time so the money can be spent by Sept. 30 because it's not certain the federal funds would be available in future years, Minter said.

The state's match is being considered by the Legislature, she said.