MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state of Vermont received $524 million in COVID-19 relief money Thursday, the first half of the just over $1 billion the state will receive from the federal government to help recover from the pandemic.
As part of the state's allotment from the American Rescue Plan's State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund the state has received $29 million that it is required to distribute to eligible cities, towns and villages within 30 days.
All 276 eligible Vermont municipalities have been certified to receive the funds.
“These ARPA funds give us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make transformational investments to help us recover from the pandemic stronger and build a more prosperous Vermont,” Gov. Phil Scott said in a statement.
“That’s why I’ve proposed historic investments in housing, combatting climate change, broadband, water/sewer infrastructure and more," he said. "This certification also provides the opportunity for municipalities to make their own investments based on the needs of their communities.”
The state is waiting to learn if it will receive 50% of $121 million in additional funds to redistribute to municipalities due to a special rule that redirects county funds in states where counties are not considered units of general local government, such as in Vermont. The U.S. Treasury will make the final determination if those funds will be distributed in Vermont.
The state is due to receive the other half the COVID-19 relief funding next June.
The Vermont Health Department on Thursday reported 34 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to nearly 24,650.
The state reported one person was hospitalized and that patient is in intensive care.
The number of fatalities remains at 259.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 4.29 new cases per day on July 6 to 13.29 new cases per day on July 20.
The Associated Press is using data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure outbreak caseloads and deaths across the United States.