The bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Senator King, would reauthorize the Northern Border Regional Commission and make Lincoln County eligible for grants for the first time
Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) Reauthorization Act of 2023. The bipartisan legislation will extend the authorization of the NBRC and support job creation and community development in the most economically vulnerable parts of rural Maine and the Northeast. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Angus King (I-ME), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
The NBRC is a federal-state partnership that was created by Congress in 2008 to help alleviate economic distress and encourage private sector job creation throughout the northern counties of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. In Maine, the NBRC can invest in economic and infrastructure projects in the following counties: Androscoggin, Aroostook, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo, and Washington. The NBRC Reauthorization Act would make Lincoln County newly eligible to receive these funds.
“The Northern Border Regional Commission serves as a critical resource for many counties in Maine, making investments to promote job growth, improve infrastructure, and boost local economies,” said Senator Collins. “I have long supported funding for this important program, and as the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I’m proud to join Senator Shaheen in this effort to reauthorize the NBRC for another ten years. The critical investments supported by the NBRC will help to ensure that northern border communities have the tools they need to prosper.”
“Since its creation, the Northern Border Regional Commission has been an essential source of support for communities across Maine – helping to create good-paying jobs, support small businesses, and strengthen local economies, ” said Senator King. “The NBRC’s proven track record of success is a powerful example of how effective partnerships between Congress, local governments, and the private sector can fuel the long-term prosperity of our state. Reauthorizing and expanding the NBRC is absolutely critical for Maine, and I hope it can be done in a speedy, bipartisan fashion. “
Building on the Senators’ previous efforts, the NBRC Reauthorization Act would strengthen the NBRC by reauthorizing the Commission for another ten years. The bill encourages business retention and expansion, invests in public infrastructure, and promotes tourism across the region. To address unique challenges facing rural workforces, the bill invests in projects that expand rural access to child care, health care, and affordable housing needs. The bill also broadens NBRC’s ability to award grants to projects and activities to address the opioid epidemic and other substance use disorders impacting the region.
Specifically, the NBRC Reauthorization Act of 2023:
The bill text can be read here.
As a member of the core group of 10 Senators who negotiated the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Senator Collins helped to secure $150 million for the NBRC – historic funding that will go toward infrastructure and community development projects throughout the region.
Since Fiscal Year 2018, the NBRC has received specific funding for the State Capacity Building Grant Program, a program included in the Northern Border Regional Commission Reauthorization Act that was signed into law as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, bipartisan legislation authored by Senators Collins and King. This program, in partnership with the EDA, allows NBRC to support business retention and expansion, access to high-speed broadband, critical infrastructure development, and job creation throughout the region.