Local businesses hurt by bridge closing

Secretary Dave Dill and his team at VTrans will work through the weekend to study possible bridge repairs, as well as a range of alternatives, including new and expanded vehicle and pedestrian ferry options.

Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie toured the bridge with VTrans officials on Wednesday and participated in the conference call today.

"As a former Goodrich employee, and after my conversations this week with the many Vermonters whose livelihoods have been impacted by this unfortunate situation, I know first hand the importance of the Champlain Bridge to the economic and social well-being and safety of Addison County," Dubie noted. "I appreciate the hard work being done to assist those who have been affected by the bridge closure. I'll continue to work closely with the governor's team as we work to address the breadth of challenges that this disruption has caused."

"Getting businesses money to help them cope with the loss of this transportation link is critical, as is making sure that the impact on their workforces is minimized," said Economic, Housing and Community Development Commissioner, Tayt Brooks.

There are two loan programs operated by the U.S. Small Business Administration that could help businesses. The first is the American Recovery Capital program that provides no-interest loans of up to $35,000 from private banks that are 100 percent guaranteed by the SBA.

The money can be used to pay existing loans, including credit card debt used in the business. To be eligible the business must have been in business two years and must have been profitable in one of the last two years.

The other loan is an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, which provides low-interest loans of up to $2 million to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their financial obligations.

To access the loan, the governor must certify to the SBA that at least five businesses have been harmed by the disaster, and the business must have applied for a standard bank loan and been rejected.

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