Earlier this month, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was passed authorizing $1.3 billion to Maine for federal-aid highway programs to be distributed over five years for the construction and maintenance of roads and highways.
This is great news for AIT as well as the state of Maine and its roads, bridges and infrastructure as the bill also provides $225 million to the state for bridge construction, maintenance, and repair. Maine currently has 315 bridges considered to be structurally deficient or “having significant structural or maintenance issues that do not pose a risk to safety.”
What’s more, Maine can compete for the $12.5 billion Bridge Investment Act for projects that improve the condition of bridges as well as the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of people and freight over bridges. Nearly $16 billion of national funding in the overall bill for major projects that will deliver substantial economic benefits to communities.
We do realize that it has been stated that ‘Maine has over 1,438 miles of highway in poor condition’ with commute times are up in the state and roads conditions costing drivers an average of $543 per year in repair costs. But we are optimistic about the future of the infrastructure in our state. We’re heading in the right direction locally, and nationally and we look forward to the integral part AIT will play in creating the most sustainable bridges ever built.
We think of days like this one in May, when we held a ceremony marking the opening of the Grist Mill Bridge in Hampden. It was filled with enthusiasm optimism and teamwork. It’s what we need now and what will create the infrastructure we all want for our country.