Funding bill OK'd by US Senate late Thursday, more than $167 million for Vermont

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Funding bill OK'd by US Senate late Thursday, more than $167 million for Vermont

Fri, 03/11/2022 - 10:26am -- tim

Full List Of VT Projects Included By Leahy, BELOW

Vermont Business Magazine The US Senate overnight Thursday/Friday passed the comprehensive government funding bill negotiated by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Leahy has listed more than $167 million in funding for specific Vermont projects across the state that are the fiscal year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which funds the federal government for the rest of this fiscal year.  Leahy has headed the arduous Senate negotiations on the Omnibus Appropriations bill for the last several months. The bill now goes to President Biden, who will sign it.

Leahy said:  “As Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee I made sure that Vermonters have had a center seat at the table in writing this bill.  From providing resources to grow ‘made in Vermont’ ideas like the farm to school program, to supporting our rural village and downtown spaces, and everything in between, this bill reflects Vermont priorities and ideas and values.  I am proud to have worked with community leaders in our Green Mountain State to include these projects and proposals in this comprehensive Appropriations bill.”

Leahy was a driving force behind restoring the practice of Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) in more than a decade that allows Members of Congress, and not just unelected federal agency officials, to have a direct say in how taxpayer dollars are spent in their communities.  In April 2021, Leahy imposed additional reforms to improve transparency and accountability in this process.  More about those reforms is available HERE.

Vermont highlights of Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) projects secured by Leahy in the fiscal year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill include:

Institute for Rural Partnerships: Leahy secured $10 million to establish an Institute for Rural Partnerships at the University of Vermont.  Rural states face unique challenges in everything from broadband connectivity to water quality, and the University of Vermont is leading the state and the nation in researching new ways to address these challenges.  Leahy secured an additional $30 million dollars in programmatic funding to support such institutes.

National Farm to School Institute: Leahy secured $5 million to establish a National Farm To School Institute at Shelburne Farms in Vermont to provide technical and practical assistance to farm to school programs in Vermont and around the country.  Shelburne Farms has been a longtime leader in Farm to School activities.

Bennington Readiness Center: Leahy secured $16.9 million to replace the nearly 100-year-old Vermont National Guard Readiness Center in Bennington that is currently home to B Troop and the 1-172 Mountain Cavalry.

Other Vermont CDS highlights include:

  • Aviation Tech Center at the Burlington Tech Center – $10 million
  • Church Street Marketplace Pedestrian Improvements – $1 million
  • Historic Preservation of the Paramount Theater, East Monitor Barn, and African-American Arts & Culture Center at the Clemmons Family Farm – $1.5 million
  • Statewide Recreation Trails through the Vermont Huts Association – $2.5 million
  • Vermont Nursing Career Pipeline through the Vermont Business Roundtable Research and Education Foundation – $1.2 million
  • Recovery and Economic Resiliency Loans through the Vermont Center for Emerging Technology (VCET) – $9 million
  • Lake Champlain Basin environmental infrastructure and habitat restoration projects –$5.25 million

A comprehensive list of the CDS projects for Vermont secured by Leahy can be found below or here.

As the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy was also able to secure formula funding increases and programmatic changes to support longtime Vermont priorities, including an increase in LIHEAP funding at a time when fuel prices are rising, reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and many other initiatives.  Highlights of these include:

Dairy Business Innovation Centers: Leahy secured $25 million, a $3 million increase, for the Dairy Business Innovation Centers, which improve the economic viability and resilience of dairy producers.  One of the centers is located in Vermont and received $6 million in fiscal year 2021.  The USDA last week announced an additional $20 million for the center through the American Recovery Plan Act.

Patrick Leahy Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program: Leahy secured $30 million for the program, which has provided thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country with more nearly 1.5 million vests, including – including more than 5,000 vests for Vermont law enforcement agencies. 

Northern Border Regional Commission: Leahy secured over $65 million for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) across several agencies.  NBRC is a federal-state partnership with a mission to help alleviate economic distress and encourage private-sector job creation throughout the northern counties of Maine, New Hampshire, and New York and all of Vermont.  Since its inception, the Commission has awarded funding to 96 projects in Vermont totaling more than $24 million. 

Lake Champlain Geographic Program: Leahy secured $20 million, a $5 million increase, for the Lake Champlain Geographic Program, which is an Environmental Protection Agency program designed to implement a comprehensive pollution prevention, control and restoration plan for protecting the Lake Champlain Basin.

Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants: Leahy secured $10 million, a $2.5 million increase, for Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants.  Named in honor of Vermonter Paul Bruhn, a longtime champion of historic preservation and the original founder of the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the program supports rural communities working to revitalize historic properties in their communities of national, state and local significance in order to restore, protect and foster economic development in rural villages and downtown areas.

Other Leahy-led formula funding and programmatic highlights include:

  • Historic Preservation Grants – $159 million
  • Great Lakes Fisheries Commission – $9 million
  • Rural Centers Against Addiction (UVM) – $10 million

Source: WASHINGTON (FRIDAY, March 11, 2022) – Leahy