Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The $20 million federal funding to help pay for the replacement of the Memorial Bridge in Kittery has been safeguarded, say a trio of Maine lawmakers.
Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree of the 1st district and GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine have been working for a while now to ensure the Department of Transportation allocates the money ahead of a potential budget cut.
The House GOP-approved budget bill slashed $61 billion for the remaining months of the 2011 fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, including the federal funding for the Memorial Bridge project. That bill, however, has never become law and budget negotiations continue between Senate Democrats, House Republicans and the White House.
But the Maine lawmakers, along with their counterparts in New Hampshire, say the Department of Transportation now has agreed to "obligate" the funding, meaning it can't be cut regardless of the outcome of the budget negotiations. They have indicated previously they were optimistic that would occur.
"As soon as those papers are signed this afternoon, the funding for this critical bridge will be safe and can't be rescinded, no matter what happens with politics in Washington," Pingree said.
Snowe said that she is "grateful the U.S. Department of Transportation fulfilled its commitment to the Memorial Bridge project in a timely fashion and that completion of this bridge overhaul was not jeopardized by ongoing budget debates in Washington."
Collins said that she is "delighted by today's announcement that this critical $20 million will be preserved that will help to rehabilitate a vital link for our states' businesses and people."Tweet
Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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