MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott wants the state to use some of the more than $1 billion in federal COVID-19 assistance money to help improve access to broadband internet services and other wireless connectivity.
Scott on Tuesday outlined plans for spending some of the funds the state is due to receive through the American Recovery Plan.
The governor would also like to spend money for housing, climate change mitigation, water and sewer infrastructure and additional economic development and recovery from the pandemic.
“This federal money provides an incredible opportunity to tackle some of our biggest problems that we haven’t been able to fully address in the past decade and put ourselves on a path to greater prosperity in the future,” Scott said in a statement.
Scott calls his proposal a starting point for discussions with the Legislature about how the money, part of the $1.9 billion federal COVID-19 rescue plan approved by Congress last month, should be spent.
Vermont is due to get a total of $2.7 billion from the act. More than half of the money will be directly appropriated to federal agencies, individuals, local governments, education institutions.
On Wednesday, the Vermont Department of Health reported 42 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to almost 20,450.
There were 26 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including six in intensive care.
The state reported one additional fatality, bringing the statewide total of deaths since the pandemic began to 230.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 126.57 new cases per day on March 22 to 180.57 new cases per day on April 5.
The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 0.71 deaths per day on March 22 to 0.57 deaths per day on April 5.
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