As the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins champions funding to help improve Maine’s infrastructure and promote economic development
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill she authored with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) has passed the Senate and House and will be signed into law as part of the year-end omnibus funding package. The legislation includes programs to make critical improvements in Maine’s transportation infrastructure and to promote economic and community development.
“Improving Maine infrastructure is essential to moving our economy forward,” said Senator Collins. “As the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I have secured more than $747 million in competitive grants for Maine to enhance our transportation network. This legislation will build on those investments by funding projects that will enhance safety, move people and products more efficiently, and create jobs in communities across the state.”
The legislation will provide $75.4 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion over the previous year. Transportation provisions secured by Senator Collins that benefit Maine in the annual funding bill include:
- BUILD Grants: The bill includes $1 billion for BUILD grants, which provide federal assistance for vital transportation projects across the country. Since the program’s inception in 2009, Senator Collins has secured $250 million for key transportation investments throughout Maine, including bridges, seaports, and rail projects. This year Senator Collins secured $45 million in BUILD grants to rehabilitate and replace seven bridges in Maine. Due to Senator Collins’ advocacy, Maine ranks number one on a per capita basis for receiving funding through the BUILD program, and Maine grant applications through this highly competitive program have been successful in every funding round.
- Highway and Bridge Funding Increase: The bill supports $47 billion for Federal-aid highways from the Highway Trust Fund. In addition, $2 billion is provided from the general fund, providing Maine DOT an additional $32 million above the FAST Act funding levels. The bill also provides $16 million for the National Scenic Byways Program.
- Maritime: The bill provides $390 million to pay for the increased construction cost for the first three training vessels for the State Maritime Academies, including the new training vessel for Maine Maritime Academy (MMA), as well as to fully fund the fourth training vessel. In addition, $43 million is provided for assistance to the State Maritime Academies, including MMA.
- Ports/Shipyards: The bill provides $230 million for Port Infrastructure Development Grants. Maine Ports Authorityreceived a $4.1 million grant in FY 2020. The bill also provides $20 million for the Small Shipyard Grant program, which helps small shipyards improve the efficiency of their operations by providing for equipment and other facility upgrades. Front Street Shipyard in Belfast received a nearly $700,000 grant in FY 2018.
- Aviation: The bill provides $18 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), with increased funding for aviation safety. The bill includes $3.7 billion for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants, $10 million for the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP), and $10 million for the Aviation Workforce Development Program. In addition, $165 million is provided for the Essential Air Service (EAS) Program. The EAS program provides commercial air service to Augusta, Bar Harbor/Trenton, Presque Isle/Houlton, and Rockland.
- Amtrak: The bill includes $2 billion for Amtrak, which supports Maine’s Downeaster service. The bill also provides $375 million for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure Safety Improvements (CRISI) grants, which have been helpful for the Downeaster, PanAm, and Springfield Terminal Railway Company, which recently received a $16.9 million CRISI grant to improve 75 miles of rail infrastructure in Penobscot, Somerset, Waldo, and Kennebec counties.
- Emergency Responder Grants. The bill includes up to $3 million for Emergency Response grants that are prioritized for rural areas and a $1 million set aside for the Assistance for Local Emergency Response Training (ALERT) grants that are supported by the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
Since 2009, when Senator Collins became a member of the Appropriations Committee, she has secured more than $747 million in competitive transportation grants for the State of Maine.
This legislation was approved by Congress as part of the annual budget process. Additional, emergency transportation funding Senator Collins secured is also being provided for key transportation needs to help address challenges in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.