As part of a continuing effort to bolster economic development in Northern Vermont, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Governor Peter Shumlin (D-Vt.) were joined by Northern Border Regional Commission Chair Mark Scarano in announcing more than $1.2 million in federal grants on Wednesday. Cultural and recreational initiatives, along with a business park expansion and Vermont's forest products industry were all winners of the awards.
In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders, Welch and Shumlin said: "While the economic strengths of Vermont's northern border communities are distinct, they share a common need for investment in infrastructure. Collectively they will increase travel and tourism, nurture our growing forest products sector and show companies that Vermont is open for business."
The NBRC was established by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill and was recently reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. The program provides funding for development in economically distressed northern border counties in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York. Leahy, as the senior-most member of the Senate's Agriculture and Appropriations Committees, played a pivotal role in renewing the Commission in the 2014 Farm Bill and dramatically increasing its funding. Representative Welch led a parallel reauthorization and funding effort in the House.
"Thanks to the strong advocacy of Vermont's Congressional Delegation, these important funds will be available for improvements that will support private sector investments in Vermont's northern counties," said Scarano who noted that Vermont provided a large number of competitive grant applications this year.