The funding Senator Collins secured through the highly competitive INFRA grant program will improve infrastructure in Waterville, Solon, Rumford, Bangor, and Old Town
All of the bridges are functionally obsolete, having been continually repaired over 90 years in some cases, and are critical mobility links in their communities.
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced today that the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) has been awarded a total of $38.1 million for the replacement and rehabilitation of seven bridges. These bridges are critical for the movement of freight and mobility of residents for the towns of Waterville, Solon, Rumford, Bangor, and Old Town.
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao 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. This federal investment is crucial since plummeting gas tax revenues caused by the pandemic have put a strain on the MaineDOT budget.
“This funding will create and sustain much-needed jobs at a time when our communities are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, by enhancing the efficiency of our transportation network, these bridge replacement projects will deliver long-lasting benefits that will be felt by Maine families and businesses,” Senator Collins said. “Improving the safety, efficiency, and reliability of transportation infrastructure throughout Maine is one of my top priorities, and I am pleased that this funding will allow these vital replacement projects to move forward.”
“These federal discretionary grants are critical to MaineDOT as we work to maintain Maine’s aging infrastructure,” said MaineDOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note. “These funds are necessary to replace seven of Maine’s nearly 3,000 bridges. Replacing these bridges will help to improve the economic viability of some Maine’s more rural areas, ensuring reliable movement of goods across our state.”
The selected bridges include two structures which carry I-95 over Webb Road in Waterville, an I-95 bridge near Bangor, Main Street bridge in Solon, Red Bridge in Rumford, and two bridges in Old Town. All of the bridges are functionally obsolete, having been continually repaired over 90 years in some cases, and are critical mobility links in their communities. If these bridges were allowed to continue to deteriorate, they would become subject to weight restrictions and eventually closure, resulting in substantial detours across several communities in Maine.
Senator Collins has championed funding for INFRA as Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee. Last year, only 20 projects across the country were chosen for this highly selective program. Senator Collins secured $36 million toward the replacement of the Madawaska Bridge in the last round of INFRA funding.
Since 2009, when Senator Collins became a member of the Appropriations Committee, she has secured more than $656 million in competitive transportation grants for the State of Maine. Federal competitive grants are a critical component of funding for Maine’s transportation needs.