Gov. Phil Scott focused his weekly presser on economic development initiatives, this time from inside the Paramount Theater in Rutland, which received over a third of a million dollars in financial support.
“These include community revitalization grants, investments to clean up brownfields, and forgivable loans, and much, much, more,” the governor said of the statewide efforts totaling tens of millions.
Scott reminded everyone that the state is currently working with unprecedented federal support: “Vermont received a historic amount of federal aid coupled with record state surpluses. … That was to grow the economy, make Vermont more affordable, protect the most vulnerable.”
The state in total received more than $5 billion over the span of about two years in federal assistance.
Scott continuously stressed the importance of having the hard infrastructure that businesses and residents need to function every day. Scott said this was a priority, “rather than spend the money on one-time programs as some suggested.”
Scott summarized some of the new investment tallies, including: A quarter million dollars in housing, over $200 million for water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure, $250 million for broadband, over $200 million for climate change mitigation, and another $200 million in economic development.
“While I didn’t get everything that I wanted, the legislature largely went along with those initiatives,” the governor said.
Maintaining a viable workforce to utilize these new investments remains one of the primary challenges.
“The unmet need for most businesses right now is workforce,” he said. “That is what everyone is struggling with, and that’s why all the other pieces of this puzzle, all the other buckets that we’ve talked about whether it’s broadband, housing, water, sewer, stormwater infrastructure, climate change mitigation, and so forth is so very important. … If you don’t have staff to take care of the day-to-day workings of a business, that’s a problem.”
He noted that there is ongoing inequality by region in the state, with much of the wealth concentrated in the northwest.
“And in closing that gap, we don’t want to bring Chittenden County or that part of the state down, we want to lift everyone else up, and bringing more economic equity from region to region is a priority for me and my team,” he said.
The state’s most recent report card by The American Society of Civil Engineers was in 2021 when the state received a ‘C’ grade for its overall infrastructure status.
“Vermont’s civil engineers studied nine infrastructure categories,” the report states. “Of those nine, two infrastructure categories are in good condition [two B- grades for solid waste and energy], five are in mediocre condition, and two are in poor condition [waste water and stormwater each got a D-].
Joan Goldstein, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Economic Development, broke down the $40 million “Community Revitalization Program.”
“We did recently announce the approval of an initial round of 16 [applicants] which represented $3 million of grants for projects that support communities’ recoveries in six different counties,” she said. “And today we just approved the next slate of about 12 more applications for another $3.5 million.”
Among these projects are museums, performance venues, language support centers, and more.
This is part of the $57 million “State’s Small Business Credit Initiative.”
“We’ve never before had an opportunity quite of that size and magnitude,” she said. “This will give us the opportunity to have venture capital for early stage, growth stage, seed stage entities. Half of that will go to venture capital and the other half to loan participation.”
Like Scott, she talked about the importance of focusing in on hard infrastructure.
“We are particularly interested in water and wastewater infrastructure projects that will help spur economic development projects for housing projects,” she said.
She said the maximum award for these projects would amount to $1 million dollars or 20% of the total cost.
Some of this money will be allotted based on the race of the applicant, such as with the Economic Empowerment Program.
“It’s $250,000 available for business coaching for BIPOC business owners and workers operating in the private sector,” she said.
In other funds, there will be $6 million going to support the arts industry and another $6 million going to brownfield revitalization.
“This is is people who want to remediate contaminated properties and these exist all over the state,” she said of the brownfields.
Eric Mallette, the executive director of the Paramount Theater, talked about the importance of getting this assistance.
“The $345,000 investment that Paramount has been granted by the Capital Investment Program represents a considerable meaningful peace of our overall fundraising campaign but also a vote of confidence in support of our region’s success,” Mallette said.
Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.
4 thoughts on “Governor focuses on infrastructure and downtown development from Rutland”
How about Languages in our schools…..early on, like k or pre k
you want to spend money on something that prepares our children for the future; most other countries teach languages multi, and early when children are so able to absorb……….Na, we wait till 7th grade and then try to shove grammar ……oh so nevermind….
lets just support CHOICE for parents……and give them $ to send their children to school of choice
and this is all as if its “real money” …….
just print some more, throw it around and watch inflation and/or % rates to climb and climb……and who holds the bag? The Taxpayer holds the bag……..OMGosh……..this is CRAZY
“Among these projects are museums, performance venues, LANGUAGE SUPPORT CENTERS, and more.” What the hell is that? Do we really need this? Is the government sneaking more refugees and illegals into Vermont?
“Some of this money will be allotted based on the race of the applicant, such as with the Economic Empowerment Program.” “It’s $250,000 available for business coaching for BIPOC business owners and workers operating in the private sector,” she said. How it this still legal? And why is it necessary for Vermont?
“…$200 million for climate change mitigation…?”
What were the specific projects and their costs, and the persons responsible for them and their salaries, that the State of Vermont spent $200,000,000.00 on?
This entry doesn’t pass the ‘sniff’ test.
If “presser” is the new made-up name for press conference than the author should go back to journalism school. Why dumb down our language when the real words can be used?
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