WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation will award $25 million in grant funding to the Maine Department of Transportation to replace the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge connecting Kittery, ME and Portsmouth, NH. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx notified Senator Collins of the Transportation Investment Generation Economic Recovery (TIGER) VI funding during a phone call this evening.
Senator Collins, the Ranking Member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, has spoken personally with Secretary Foxx on multiple occasions to advocate on behalf of Maine’s application for this grant. Senator King has also spoken with Secretary Foxx, and in April of this year, both Senators Collins and King wrote to him in support of the project.
“This is fantastic news for Kittery and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which relies heavily on this bridge for the safe transportation of materials from the shipyard,” Senator Collins said. “For years I have been pressing the Department of Transportation to fund this renovation. It is long past due that the bridge, which the Federal Highway Administration has classified as structurally deficient, be replaced. It is absolutely essential that shipyard facilities and infrastructure match the skill and dedication of the men and women who work there, and this project is an important step toward that end.”
“This award is great news,” Senator King said. “The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge is a vital link between Maine and New Hampshire that supports regional commerce, promotes local economic activity, and – with the rail line into Portsmouth Naval Shipyard – serves our national security interests. I am thrilled the Department of Transportation has recognized its importance and, along with the two states, will build a new bridge that can safely and efficiently serve the area for many years to come.”
"On behalf of the Maine Department of Transportation, I thank Senator Susan Collins and Senator Angus King for their tireless efforts in recognizing and helping to secure this critical funding for the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge," said MaineDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt. "As ranking member of the Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins continues to lend her great support to the needs of Maine's infrastructure."
The $25 million secured will specifically replace Sarah Mildred Long Bridge’s rail component, which supports an important national security need, enabling the safe and efficient transportation of materials from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The total project cost is approximately $158.5 million. The Federal Highway Administration has classified the bridge as Structurally Deficient, and has noted its truss spans are fracture critical, meaning that the failure of steel tension members could result in collapse.
According to the Department of Transportation, DOT received 797 eligible applications totaling $9.5 billion from 49 states, US territories and the District of Columbia, compared to the 585 in 2013. These applications were competing for the $600 million provided in 2014.