Senator Collins Announces $7.89 Million Grant for Project to Improve Rail Capacity in Northeastern Maine

Funding will help create jobs, improve competitiveness, and provide an economic boost for the State of Maine

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee, announced today that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will award $7,890,000 in funding to the State of Maine for the Maine Railroad Bridge Capacity project in northeastern Maine. This funding will be provided to the Maine Department of Transportation through the FASTLANE grant program created by the FAST Act.

The project will repair and upgrade 22 rail bridges on the Madawaska Subdivision of the Maine Northern Railway. Fourteen bridges will require minor repairs, three bridges require superstructure replacements, and one bridge will be replaced completely. Following project completion, the 151-mile section will be capable of carrying 286,000 pounds of rail car weight.

“I am delighted to announce that the State of Maine will receive this $7.89 million investment through the FASTLANE grant program for this important railroad in northeastern Maine. This major rail link is used daily by manufacturers and customers across our state, and these improvements will significantly increase capacity and efficiency throughout the corridor,” said Senator Collins. “As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the Department of Transportation, I worked to ensure that the FASTLANE program was fully funded so it could provide the critically needed resources for transportation projects in Maine and across our country. This funding for the Maine Railroad Bridge Capacity project will help create jobs, improve competitiveness and efficiency, and provide an economic boost for the State of Maine.”

“This FASTLANE grant is a critical piece of funding for the upgrades and improvements of railroad bridges in northern Maine,” said MaineDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt. “Through this important public/private partnership, operators of railroads will be able to safely increase the loaded weights for railcars over these bridges that will have long lasting, positive impacts on industries in the region. I want to thank Senator Susan Collins once again for her continued efforts in recognizing the importance of Maine’s transportation system.”

In December 2016, Senator Collins wrote a letter along with the other members of Maine’s congressional delegation to then-USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx expressing strong support for the Maine Department of Transportation’s application. USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao called Senator Collins this morning to notify her of MDOT’s successful application for the $7.89 million grant.