More than 120 Maine projects will be getting federal money after Congress passed a budget bill for 2022 that included funding requests from Maine’s congressional delegation.
It was the first time in more than a decade that members of Congress were allowed to request funding for specific projects, known as earmarks. There were no limits to requests from senators, while House members were limited to 10 requests each. All four members of Maine’s delegation submitted requests, with some overlap between projects. While not every request was granted, funding for the projects that were approved totaled roughly $200 million.
The largest earmarked budget item is nearly $13 million for rail improvements in northern Maine, requested by Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King. Other transportation projects include $10 million to fix a section of Route 1 in Camden and $7.2 million to replace a bridge in Dover-Foxcroft.
Several of the projects concerned first responders, with the municipalities of Auburn, Corinna, Washburn and Rumford getting funding to improve or replace their fire stations after requests from Collins. The town of East Millinocket is getting $300,000 to cover the costs of two new ambulances following a request from King and Rep. Jared Golden of the 2nd District.
There are also several projects that concern funding for substance abuse treatment, including nearly $700,000 for Milestone Recovery in Portland, requested by Collins and Rep. Chellie Pingree of the 1st District, as well as $265,000 for Augusta to launch a pilot program to connect people with substance abuse disorder treatment and assist with community reintegration.