Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins attended the signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act at the White House today. The landmark legislation that she co-wrote with a group of nine of her colleagues will make historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure. This is the third White House signing ceremony Senator Collins has attended this year.
“This infrastructure package is good for America,” said Senator Collins. “Earlier this year, I joined a group of 10 Senators—five Republicans and five Democrats—who were determined to break through the partisan gridlock and pass this long-overdue infrastructure investment for the American people. Months of bipartisan negotiations produced a truly transformational package for our country that will make the most significant investment in American infrastructure since the establishment of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s. By working collaboratively and across the aisle, Congress demonstrated that it can deliver real results for the American people.”
“One of the many provisions that will have a significant impact on Maine is the largest-ever investment for broadband, which will provide our state with $300 million to expand high-speed Internet access to rural and unserved areas,” Senator Collins continued. “I negotiated this section of the bill with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), along with our colleagues and the Administration. It has become increasingly clear in recent years – and especially in light of the pandemic – that broadband is not a luxury, but a necessity.”
Senator Collins, the Ranking Member of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, was part of the core group of 10 Senators who negotiated the text of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. She focused on the funding for highways and bridges and also spearheaded the broadband working group with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), which reached an agreement to provide $65 billion for the deployment of high-speed Internet to unserved and underserved areas.
In addition to Senator Collins, the leaders of the infrastructure negotiations included Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Jon Tester (D-MT).
Key provisions that will benefit Maine include:
· Roads and Highways
o The bill authorizes $1.3 billion to Maine for federal-aid highway apportioned programs over five years to construct, rebuild, and maintain its roads and highways.
o Maine has over 1,438 miles of highway in poor condition. Commute times are up 1.9% since 2011 in the state and bad roads cost drivers an average of $543 per year in repair costs.
o The bill provides $225 million to Maine for bridge construction, maintenance and repair.
o Additionally, Maine can compete for the $12.5 billion Bridge Investment Program for economically significant bridges and nearly $16 billion of national funding in the bill dedicated for major projects that will deliver substantial economic benefits to communities.
o Maine currently has 315 bridges considered to be “structurally deficient.”
o Based on a preliminary estimate, Maine stands to receive approximately $300 million to help expand high-speed Internet service to nearly every corner of our state, helping provide access to the at least 42,000 Mainers who currently lack it.
o Additionally, more than 300,000 Mainers will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access.
o The bill provides $15 billion in formula funding—of which Maine will receive $73.5 million—for FAA Airport Infrastructure Grants which supports Airport Improvement Program (“AIP”) projects, such as runways and taxiways, as well as terminal development projects, multimodal, or airport-owned towers. This funding provides flexibility for airports such as Portland International Jetport (PWM) and Presque Isle International Airport (PQI) to address their specific airside or landside needs.
o The bill provides $5 billion for FAA’s Facilities and Equipment Program, which includes funding for FAA-owned Air Traffic Control facilities and contract towers.
o The bill provides $5 billion in grants for a new Airport Terminal Improvement Program, a new competitive discretionary grant program which includes set asides for small hub airports, nonhub, and nonprimary airports, ensuring airports in communities of all sizes benefit.
o The bill provides $5 billion for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) program to assist with critical capital projects and rail safety technologies.
o The bill provides $3 billion for the Grade Crossing elimination grant program.
o The bill provides funding for Amtrak’s National Network, which supports upgrades to rail lines, facilities, and trainsets that operate on State-supported routes like the Downeaster.
· Public Transportation
o The bill provides $250 million to Maine over five years to improve public transportation options.
· Clean Water
o The bill authorizes $254 million to Maine in water revolving funds. This includes the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, which passed the Senate overwhelmingly this year.
· Electric Vehicles
o The bill provides $19 million to Maine over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state. Maine will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging in the bill.