State officials announced that Vermont will receive $40 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to help companies, nonprofits and municipalities make capital improvements and expand.

“In every part of the state, we need good jobs and thriving downtowns…and to approve quality of life they need outdoor recreation, arts and entertainment,” Governor Phil Scott said. “All things that help keep and attract the working families that we desperately need.” 

The Community Recovery and Revitalization Program will allocate the funding to sectors most affected by the pandemic according to Vermont’s Department of Economic Development Commissioner Joan Goldstein. 

“Arts, entertainment, recreation, hospitality, agriculture and educational services,” she said. 

The funding will also benefit municipalities looking to improve their wastewater systems, along with projects that support childcare and affordable housing opportunities. 

It comes on the heels of the state’s $10.5 million Capital Investment Program that aided 38 projects, including the Tang Science Annex at the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium. They are using over $400,000 to finish off their fundraising for a new addition. 

“This building is the expression of economic revitalization in a way that will be sustainable both environmentally and economically,” Adam Kane, the museum’s executive director, said. 

The annex has proved to be a $6 million project, and Kane said the federal funding helped put the finishing touches on their fundraising efforts, providing locals with a greater educational experience. 

Applicants for the new program can receive either 20% of their project cost or $1 million, the lesser of the two sums. 

However, both the governor and the state legislature acknowledge that budget surpluses and cash flow for more capital investment programs could dry up in the coming year. 

“We’re not going to have the windfall we’ve had in the past,” Scott said. “We’ll look for any opportunity we can to increase the amount of money we can leverage to really make Vermont more attractive.” 

The state says throughout the next month, BIPOC-owned establishments will get the first shot at the money. Applicants will be on a first-come, first-serve basis after the start of the new year.