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November 8, 2021

Maine to receive funds for highways, broadband, clean water under Biden plan

File photo On Friday, after prolonged deal-making among Democrats, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the infrastructure spending package proposed by President Joe Biden.

Maine will receive nearly $1.9 billion in funding for roads, broadband, clean water and electric-vehicle charging stations under the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed Friday by Congress.

The legislation now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

“Our bipartisan negotiations resulted in 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,” said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in a statement.

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is monumental legislation that will bring incredible change to Maine communities,” said U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine.

Key provisions that will benefit Maine include $1.3 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs over five years to construct, rebuild, and maintain roads and highways.

Maine has more than 1,438 miles of highway in poor condition. Commute times in Maine are up 1.9% since 2011, and bad roads cost drivers an average of $543 per year in repair costs, Collins said.

The bill authorizes $225 million to Maine for bridge construction, maintenance and repair. Maine can also 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.

Maine currently has 315 bridges considered to be “structurally deficient.”

The bill authorizes at least $100 million to Maine to help provide high-speed internet coverage across the state, helping provide access to the at least 42,000 Mainers who currently lack it.

“I’m most excited by the legislation’s unprecedented broadband investments, which will drastically increase access to high-speed, affordable broadband and help to ensure that every Maine person can engage in the 21st century economy, no matter where they live," King said. 

“One of the many provisions that will have a significant impact on Maine is the $65 billion investment for broadband, which will expand high-speed Internet access to rural and unserved areas of our state,” Collins said. “It has become increasingly clear in recent years — and especially in light of the pandemic — that broadband is not a luxury, but a necessity.”

The bill also authorizes $254 million to Maine in revolving funds for water system upgrades. This includes the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, which passed the Senate this year.

The bill also authorizes $19 million to Maine over five years to support the expansion of an electric vehicle 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.

Other aspects of the bill include funding for airports and railroads.

"I truly believe that ten years from now, the passage of this legislation will be heralded as a transformative moment that laid a foundation for success for Americans of all backgrounds," King said.

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