The Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) has announced a funding opportunity to provide financial assistance to municipalities in an ongoing effort to improve the quality of water statewide.
The state's Municipal Highway and Stormwater Mitigation Program funds grants only to companies with a transportation link. The enabling legislation that determines eligibility is as follows: "Any environmental mitigation activity, including pollution prevention and pollution abatement activities and mitigation to address stormwater management, control, and water pollution prevention or abatement related to highway construction or due to highway runoff."
Potentially eligible project types include planning studies (stormwater inventories, low restoration plans, phosphorus control planning), salt/sand sheds, bank stabilization, culvert replacement/re-sizing, stream bank stabilization, detention ponds, check dam, swirl separators, permeable pavers, infiltration basins, gravel wetlands, subsurface detention systems, bio filters and bio retention systems.
Eligible applicants for this grant program are cities and towns. The AOT said there's not a program cap on the amount of funding granted to a specific project, though there is a 20 percent local match requirement. All projects must be developed in accordance with applicable federal and state regulations.
They also must be developed according to the guidelines published in the Municipal Assistance Bureau — Local Projects Guidebook for Municipally Managed Projects. The document and appendices can be found at http://vtrans.vermont.gov/highway/local-projects/general-information/guidebook.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) has additional information for federal-aid projects. That information can be accessed at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/federal-aidessentials/.
Some of the requirements highlighted in these sources include compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, Uniform Act for Right-of-Way acquisition, Buy America Provisions and low-bid, sealed-bid processes for construction.
Vermont's Municipal Highway and Stormwater Mitigation Program is a reimbursement effort, and municipalities must submit invoices for completed work to be repaid appropriately. The AOT added that all projects must be completed, or all expended federal funds will be required to be paid back.
Applications require a letter of support from their Regional Planning Commission (RPC). In addition, projects located in or adjacent to a state maintained right of way must submit a description of the project and/or plans to the District Transportation Administrator (DTA) in that region. A copy of this correspondence to the DTA must be attached to an application. The application and program guide can be found at: http://vtrans.vermont.gov/highway/Municipal-Highway-and-Stormwater-Mitigation-Program
Applications must be received before 1 p.m. on Oct. 9, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, electronic submittal of PDF files via email is required. Hard copy applications will not be accepted. Email submissions should be sent to email@example.com.