In this Sept. 7, 2021, file photo, a motorcycle roars by a sign for the Rockland Municipal Fish Pier. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

An effort to rehabilitate an aging city-owned fish pier in Rockland will soon get a $1.5 million funding boost from the federal government.

The funding was included in the omnibus spending bill approved by Congress Thursday night. The bill must now be signed into law by President Joe Biden. The funding for the Rockland Municipal Fish Pier comes as high project costs have stalled progress on long-needed repairs to the facility, which serves as a central fixture in the community’s fishing and marine industries.

City officials requested the $1.5 million in federal funding, which U.S. Sen. Susan Collins ultimately pushed for inclusion in the housing and transportation bill.

“This funding will enable Rockland’s Fish Pier to continue to serve commercial vessels and marine businesses from throughout the region, and we are so grateful to Senator Collins for her support,” Julie Hashem, Rockland Community Development Director, said in a news release from Sen. Collins’ office. “The Fish Pier provides working access for traditional fishing, for emerging opportunities, and for supplying island communities.  It’s an important part of our past, present and future.”

The Rockland Municipal Fish Pier has been owned by the city since the 1980s. It serves as a home base for many of the city’s lobstermen, lobster buyers and bait dealers, as well as other fishing vessels and a ship that provides fuel to nearby islands.

The pier has been in need of an overhaul for years. Repairs are needed for the surface and structural elements of the pier, the electrical system needs to be brought up to date and the sea floor around the pier needs to be dredged to allow vessels better access at low tide. A sea wall that abuts the pier also needs to be rebuilt.

The city has an existing pool of about $1.6 million in state and federal funding set aside. But two rounds of project bids have come in drastically higher. An initial bid for the entire project two years ago came in at nearly $1.5 million over budget, which is why the city made the request for more funding.

In an attempt to make some progress on the project, the city is breaking it down into phases. Earlier this year the city began a second round of request for proposals for the dredging aspect alone. It’s unclear how much more of the project the new batch of federal dollars will fund.

Rockland City Manager Tom Luttrell did not immediately respond to a message left Friday morning.