Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senators Susan Collins, the Ranking Member of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden announced today that the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) has been awarded a total of $45.2 million for the replacement of 14 bridge decks. These bridges—which are located in Benedicta, Medway, Howland, Bangor, Hampden, and Pittsfield—are critical to local residents as well as for freight being transported throughout the state.
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called Senator Collins today to notify her of the approval of this grant, for which Senator Collins strongly advocated. The funding was awarded through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Program, which leverages federal grants to help communities invest in high-priority projects to fix crumbling infrastructure.
“The people of Maine rely heavily on the routes these bridges serve to get to work, go to school, and access health care and other essential services. These bridges are also essential to our freight network, providing access to the northernmost parts of Maine and to Canada,” said Senators Collins and King and Representatives Pingree and Golden in a joint statement. “This project to rehabilitate these bridges will improve the efficiency of Maine’s transportation system, preserve and create jobs, enhance Maine’s ability to compete in national and international markets, and deliver direct benefits to families and businesses across the state.”
“These bridges are part of Maine’s National Highway System and represent programmed ‘must-do’ work to assure the safety and economic prosperity of Maine people,” said Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner Bruce A. Van Note. “We are grateful to Senator Collins for her continued advocacy for infrastructure needs in Maine because, without this grant, MaineDOT would have had to scale back other work to get these bridge projects done.”
The selected bridges have deteriorated to the end of their useful lives and are considered structurally deficient. If these bridge decks are left in their current state, it is likely that detours will be needed for freight transportation in excess of 100 miles in some areas. The aging bridge decks will be replaced with new, safe, and modern bridge decks, meeting current traffic safety standards.
Senator Collins has championed funding for INFRA through her leadership role on the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee. Senator Collins secured $36 million toward the replacement of the Madawaska Bridge and $38 million for the replacement of seven deteriorated bridges in previous rounds of INFRA funding.
Since 2009, when Senator Collins became a member of the Appropriations Committee, she has secured more than $800 million in competitive transportation grants for the State of Maine. Federal competitive grants are a critical component of funding for Maine’s transportation needs.