Gov. Shumlin: Irene could cost Vt. more than $1B

September 20, 2011 - 6:35 PM
Irene Vermont

Gov. Peter Shumlin, right, and Treasurer Beth Pearce hold a news conference on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011 in Montpelier, Vt. Vermont's governor says Tropical Storm Irene could cost Vermont over $1 billion. Shumlin said Tuesday that the state is still estimating the damage from the Aug. 28 as he announced financial assistance for towns struggling to make repairs. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont's governor says Tropical Storm Irene could cost the tiny state more than $1 billion.

Gov. Peter Shumlin said Tuesday that the state is still calculating the damage from the Aug. 28 storm. He pleaded with the federal government for help as he announced state financial assistance for towns struggling to make repairs.

The package includes $24 million in accelerated state payments to help cash-strapped towns, including $6.2 million in town highway funds released this week rather than next month.

Officials say local banks also are stepping in, providing short-term low collateral loans while the Vermont Municipal Bond Band will provide funding if banks need it.

Shumlin says a top priority will be to get as much of a federal match as possible for infrastructure repairs once the state knows the extent of the damage.