Maine announced their plan to improve their transportation system over the next three years with nearly $4 billion in funding.
On Wednesday, the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) announced its plans to improve highway maintenance and operations efforts, planning initiatives, and administrating programs with $3.94 billion.
"Strong support for infrastructure at both the federal and state levels gives us reasons to be optimistic about the future of transportation in Maine," Bruce Van Note, commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation, said in a release. "We are continuing our shift from making do to making pragmatic progress. If we set reasonable goals that fit Maine's needs, manage costs with practical ingenuity, and find the funds needed to match available federal funds, all Maine people can realize the enhanced safety, economic opportunity, and quality of life that comes with a better transportation future."
According to a press release, MaineDOT created the three-year plan through a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Maine uses a multimodal transportation system due to geology and weather challenges presented through a mostly aging and rural population.
As construction costs continue to rise, Maine is approaching the project differently.
According to the release, MaineDOT plans to use funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to shore up financing for projects as inflation has caused construction prices to rise. Under the IIJA, 11% of the funding for the project stems from the federal government.
MaineDOT is using $2.2 billion for highway and bridge capital projects. This includes 302 bridge projects at a cost of $706 million. It would use $575 million for preservation paving of 1,178 miles of roads, and $475 million used for for 271 miles of highway construction and rehabilitation. 264 highway safety and spot improvements will be made at a cost of $190 million, and 2,073 miles of Light Capital Paving will be conducted at a cost of $116 million.
"The team at MaineDOT is skilled at both responding to challenges and embracing opportunities both of those qualities are evident in this Work Plan," Maria Fuentes, executive director of the Maine Better Transportation Association, said in a release. "Continued support for infrastructure at both the federal and state levels gives Maine the ability to make new investments in its transportation system. Those investments support thousands of jobs in our state. We share the optimism that a better transportation system is within our reach."