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State of Vermont Receives EPA Smart Growth Assistance

Release Date: 03/20/2012
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, (617) 918-1027

(Boston, Mass. - March 20, 2012) - EPA recently announced that Vermont has been one of five selected recipients of the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) program nationwide. This program will offer assistance to help understand new or cutting-edge development issues in five areas of the country, and then replicate that assistance to other places facing similar challenges.

In the fall of 2011, the state of Vermont experienced major damage to roads, houses, and businesses due to flood impacts from Tropical Storm Irene. With this SGIA assistance EPA will help communities in the Mad River Valley recover from flood damage, become more resilient to future natural disasters and plan for future growth.

“EPA’s SGIA program helps communities address development challenges in ways that improve the economy, the environment and public health,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator for EPA’s New England office. “EPA’s assistance in Vermont will help the state recover and grow in a way that benefits people, prosperity and the environment.”

“We are trying to rebuild Vermont better than Tropical Storm Irene found us, and appreciate the EPA Smart Growth assistance to help us protect against future flooding,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin. “Vermont and the other applicants, working with the EPA through this assistance program, will make decisions that provide future guidance to other areas of the country facing similar weather problems.”

The other four applicants that will receive technical assistance in 2012 are:

    • Madison County, NY – EPA will help the county explore options for smart growth strategies that preserve the county’s rural way of life.
    • Spokane Indian Reservation, Eastern Wash. – EPA will help the Spokane Tribe of Indians develop a comprehensive water infrastructure plan.
    • San Francisco, Calif. – EPA will help San Francisco develop a citywide district energy plan.
    • Billings, Mont. – EPA will help Billings develop a model for collaborative planning that aligns school siting with community revitalization, affordable housing, and transportation plans.
In addition to helping the selected recipients with their development challenges, the program aims to create models that can catalyze similar projects across the country, identify common barriers to more environmentally and economically sustainable communities, and create new tools other communities can use.

Since 2005 EPA has supported 31 Smart Growth Implementation Assistance projects, serving dozens of communities. For example, in 2008, EPA worked with the City of Phoenix, City of Mesa and Valley Metro Transit to develop a menu of policies that support station area development in ways that enhance property values. As a direct result of this work, a $20 million dollar Sustainable Communities Fund was created to finance the construction of affordable housing, grocery stores, child care facilities, sidewalks and other essential elements of healthy and equitable neighborhoods. 

The projects are coordinated through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a joint effort of EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The interagency collaboration coordinates federal investments in infrastructure, facilities and services to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently. The Partnership is helping communities across the country create more housing choices, make transportation more efficient and reliable, reinforce existing investments and support vibrant neighborhoods that attract new business.

More information:

- Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program and the selected communities:  http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/sgia2012.htm
- Partnership for Sustainable Communities: 
http://www.sustainablecommunities.gov

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