On the heels of a storm that dumped up to 3 feet of snow on parts of New England, prompting Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to ban driving on his state’s roadways through 4 p.m. today, Gov. Peter Shumlin contacted Gov. Patrick to offer Vermont’s transportation crews to speed the cleanup in the neighboring state. The number of crews, trucks, equipment and other details are being worked out this evening by the Vermont Agency of Transportation and Massachusetts transportation officials, but the Vermont AOT workers plan to head to Massachusetts on Sunday morning if needed.
“Gov. Patrick is facing an enormous challenge, with more than 300,000 residents without power, many roads still snow-covered, and the National Guard preparing to assist with evacuations along the coastal areas,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Governor Patrick was appreciative of our offer to assist, and emergency officials there officially reached out this afternoon to ask for Vermont’s help.”
Transportation Secretary Brian Searles said some of Vermont’s AOT crews have worked 16 hour shifts clearing the state’s roadways from the storm that left between 4.5 and 16 inches across the state, according to the National Weather Service. Searles said despite being tired, more than 100 AOT workers volunteered to help with the Massachusetts emergency.
The request for aid is part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, signed among the states to send or receive assistance in emergencies. The EMAC process was utilized by Vermont to receive assistance during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Massachusetts would reimburse Vermont the costs of the aid, but could potentially secure the funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.