Friday, March 5, 2010
U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY PLEDGES TO WORK WITH SENATOR COLLINS TO SEEK FEDERAL FUNDING FOR MEMORIAL BRIDGE PROJECT
U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, received a commitment from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that his staff will work closely with stakeholders in Maine and New Hampshire to carefully consider supporting an application for grant funding to rehabilitate the historic Memorial Bridge that links Kittery with Portsmouth.
Senator Collins, along with other members of the Maine and New Hampshire Congressional delegations, supported a joint request from Maine and New Hampshire for $70 million in funding from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program which would have been used to update this critical bridge. The Department of Transportation received $56.5 billion in grant application requests for a total just $1.5 billion. Unfortunately, the Memorial Bridge project was not funded in the first round of grants announced last month.
Today, during a Senate Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee hearing, Senator Collins explained to Secretary LaHood the importance of this rehabilitation project and urged him to carefully consider supporting the project in an upcoming, second round of TIGER funding.
“These two states collaborated on a TIGER grant application with unanimous support from the Maine and New Hampshire congressional delegations and both governors,” said Senator Collins. “This is a major thoroughfare connecting Maine and New Hampshire. It’s important for commerce, for tourists, and for day-to-day residents, and I urge you to take a close look at this proposal as you consider the second round of grant applications.”
Secretary LaHood responded, “Senator, let me suggest that we work with your staff and get the stakeholders from both states together to review their application in anticipation of us posting up our guidance on the next round. That may be helpful for them and if we could work with your staff to get those people gathered together we could talk about the previous application and the way forward.”
Senator Collins said her office will work with local officials in Maine and New Hampshire to discuss the next steps.