As the Ranking Member of the Transportation and Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins championed funding for Maine communities
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill she co-authored was signed into law as part of the year-end omnibus funding package. Senator Collins served as the Ranking Member of the Transportation and Housing Appropriations Subcommittee last Congress, and the legislation includes her provisions to invest in infrastructure, support vulnerable Mainers, and strengthen communities.
“Improving Maine infrastructure and enhancing our transportation network are essential to moving our economy forward. This legislation will build on previous investments by funding projects that will enhance safety, move people and products more efficiently, and create jobs across the state,” said Senator Collins. “In addition, increasing the supply of safe, affordable housing and strengthening our communities have been among my top priorities. This bipartisan legislation will bolster housing for low-income families and seniors, reduce homelessness, and support community revitalization projects throughout Maine.”
The final appropriation provides $87.3 billion, which is $6.3 billion more than the previous year. Transportation and housing provisions secured by Senator Collins that benefit Maine include:
Department of Transportation
- RAISE Grants. The law provides $800 million for RAISE grants, which provide federal assistance for vital transportation projects across the country. Of this total funding, up to $25 million is to provide additional funding to FY19 port projects funded with RAISE grants, which includes the Lubec safe harbor project. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the bill will provide up to $10 million for the Lubec project, which is sufficient to fully fund the remaining project costs. Maine has received a TIGER, BUILD, or RAISE grant award each year, totaling more than $250 million, since the program was established in 2009. This funding for RAISE grants is in addition to the $1.5 billion for RAISE grants provided by the bipartisan infrastructure law in FY22.
- Bridge Formula Funding. The law provides $1.1 billion for bridge rehabilitation and replacement, with funding prioritized for states with more than 5 percent of bridges in poor condition. Maine DOT is guaranteed to receive more than $31 million from this bridge formula, which is in addition to the $45 million in bridge funding that Maine received from the bipartisan infrastructure law in FY22.
- Highway Programs. The law provides $15 million (a $5 million increase) for the Northern Border Regional Commission program supporting innovative wood-based infrastructure research, and $20 million (a $14 million increase) for the National Scenic Byways Program. Maine has seven National Scenic Byways, three of which were designated in 2021 due to Sen. Collins’ successful efforts to reopen the nomination and designation process. These grant funds can be used for activities ranging from infrastructure improvements, to byways facilities, to signage.
- Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The law provides $3.9 billion for the FAA Airport Improvement Program, including $275 million in discretionary supplemental AIP from the general fund, maintaining the FY22 enacted level. The supplemental AIP funding has benefited airports in Bangor, Presque Isle, Old Town, and Wiscasset in prior years. This funding is in addition to the $3 billion for airport infrastructure grant funding provided by the bipartisan infrastructure bill for FY23.
- Essential Air Service. The law provides $355 million to support all existing EAS communities. The Maine communities that receive EAS funding are Augusta, Bar Harbor, Presque Isle, and Rockland.
- State Maritime Academies – National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) Shore-side Infrastructure. The law provides $75 million to support the development of shore-side infrastructure necessary for the SMAs to berth and operate the NSMVs. This funding will ensure that Maine Maritime Academy has the necessary resources to make pier, utility, and other critical infrastructure improvements in advance of the delivery of their NSMV.
- Ports and Shipyards. The law provides $212 million for Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) Grants. The Maine Port Authority received a $4 million PIDP grant in FY20 for improvements to the International Marine Terminal. This funding is in addition to the $450 million provided for Port Grants by the bipartisan infrastructure law in FY22. The law also provides $20 million for the Maritime Administration’s Small Shipyard Grant program to help small shipyards improve efficiency of operations by providing for equipment and other facility upgrades. Maine shipyards that have benefitted from this program include Rockland Marine Corporation, Washburn & Doughty, and Front Street Shipyard.
Housing and Urban Development
- Community Development Block Grants. The law provides $3.3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program, which helps state and local governments promote economic development and job creation.
- Responding to Homelessness. The law includes more than $3.7 billion to help meet the housing needs of homeless families and individuals. This includes: $50 million for new HUD-VASH vouchers to reduce veterans’ homelessness (since the program was first established in 2008, Maine has received 238 vouchers to support homeless veterans); $132 million targeted to youth homelessness; and $75 million for the construction, rehabilitation or acquisition of permanent supportive housing for unsheltered homeless individuals and families, of which $30 million is directed to states with populations below 2.5 million.
- Aging in Place Home Modifications for Seniors. The law includes $30 million (a $15 million increase) for grants for home modifications to enable low-income seniors to “age in place” and remain in their own homes. Of this funding, no less than $10 million (a $5 million increase) is for rural communities.
- Housing During Substance Abuse Recovery. The law provides $30 million (a $5 million increase) for assistance to States to provide individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder with stable, temporary housing. Maine will receive approximately $1 million.
- Lead Hazard Remediation Grants. The law includes $290 million to remediate lead-based paint hazards. These grants will help communities protect children from the harmful effects of lead-based paint poisoning in homes.
- Section 202 Housing for the Elderly. The law includes $1.1 billion for the Section 202 program. Of this total, $110 million is for the development of new senior housing properties.
- Manufactured Housing. The law includes $225 million for infrastructure improvement to manufactured housing communities. There are 10 eligible communities in Maine.