The state of Vermont will be receiving $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the latest COVID relief bill. Governor Scott’s proposal allocates $170 million to water and sewer infrastructure. However, the bulk of this funding is for development of new systems and new CSO/stormwater projects, rather than for repairing/upgrading existing infrastructure. This proposal will not help meet the needs of our current treatment plants and distribution and collection systems. In addition, funds that are being sent directly to local governments will not be going to water districts, fire districts, or other non-town-owned entities in Vermont. Vermont Rural Water and GMWEA are asking the Governor and Vermont legislators to increase the ARPA allocation for drinking water and clean water projects from $170 to $350 million and to include $180 million for replacement of aging water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. Read the press release from GMWEA and VRWA.
Contact Your Legislators
We are asking you to call, email, or otherwise get in touch with the legislators representing your district. Find your senators and representatives here: https://legislature.vermont.gov/people/search/2022 If one of your legislators is on the House or Senate Appropriations Committees, please prioritize contacting them.
You can use this template to start your email. Replace capitalized sections with information specific to your system. Feel free add or change language as you see fit. Tell your legislators about your water or wastewater system. How have you been impacted by the pandemic? What are your infrastructure needs? What are the other challenges you are facing? How much infrastructure money could you realistically spend by Dec 2024 (the ARPA deadline)? What are your other needs in the next 10 years?
Also mention how your system support state priorities such as:
- Affordable housing
- Compact settlement patterns
- Reduce costs for families and businesses
- Preserving the environment
- Supporting safe and healthy communities
- Protecting the most vulnerable Vermonters
- Strengthen Vermont’s workforce
- Create construction jobs
- Building resilient communities
Write a Letter to the Editor
Submit a letter or opinion piece to your local paper to inform your customers about this funding opportunity for infrastructure needs. You can use this template to get started (replace capitalized sections with information specific to your system). Most newspapers have a website or email address where you can submit your letter.
Talk to Town Officials
Cities and towns will also be receiving ARPA funding, which they can use on water and sewer infrastructure. Tell your town officials what your system needs. Fire and water districts should also contact officials in the communities they serve.