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Local transit projects to receive stimulus

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Local transit projects to receive stimulus

Downeaster extension, Veteran's bridge replacement still uncertain
The state is poised to receive more than $160 million, most for paving projects, from the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, signed into law last month.
But there are still more than $100 million of projects that could still get funding through other competitive stimulus programs.
Local projects still competing for funds include $60 million for replacement of the Veteran's Memorial Bridge, $35 million for the Downeaster extension from Portland to Brunswick and $5.5 million for a Casco Bay Island Transit District Ferry.
The vast majority of the $162 million coming to the state will be invested in road paving and bridge repair projects. Over $130 million is earmarked for roads and bridges, while as much as $20 million is expected for yet-to-be named aviation projects.
Another $13.2 million is expected to be spent on transit projects. Of that, $5.1 million will be used for 12 public buses in urban areas, including six for Portland Metro, one for South Portland Bus service, two for Lewiston-Auburn and three for Bangor."
"The Maine Department of Transportation has worked for nearly two months preparing for a possible recovery plan that invests in our state's highways and bridges," Gov. John Baldacci said in his Feb. 28 radio address. "They set the stage for quick action, even as we were unsure of how much or when the resources would be flowing to Maine."
The reconstruction of the Interstate I-295's northbound lanes from Brunswick to Gardiner, estimated to cost nearly $36.4 million, is the first project to move forward using stimulus money.
"We know that a good job is the best social service program," he said.
Meanwhile, Portland can expect to see more than $2.64 million for road projects from the stimulus. The replacement of Veranda Street bridge is expected to receive $1.19 million. Another $239,000 is set aside for almost a half-mile of southbound I-295 paving from the Washington Avenue on ramp.
Another $349,000 is set aside to repave nearly a one-mile stretch of Forest Avenue, from Allen Avenue to Riverside Industrial Parkway. About $221,000 is included for paving more than a quarter-mile of Cumberland Avenue from Franklin Arterial to Elm Street.
Also, nearly $320,000 is set aside for nearly one-mile stretch of Congress Street that touches the town line with Westbrook. That stretch will be repaved and 24 catch basins for storm-water will be installed, in addition 1,000 feet of curbing.
More than $325,000 is set aside to add traffic signals at the intersection of Auburn Street and Lyseth Moore Drive.
Meanwhile in South Portland, $2 million has been set aside for the clean up of Long Creek, a heavily polluted watershed that includes the Maine Mall area and Portland International Jetport.
The money is designed to help businesses to upgrade their storm-water systems to address the quality of their storm-water discharge.
For Falmouth, more than $545,000 is set aside for repaving a three-quarter mile stretch of Brook Road from the Westbrook town line to Leighton Road.
For Freeport, $220,000 is set aside to replace culverts near Exit 22 on I 295.
Meanwhile, up to $20 million of improvements to airports throughout the state have not been finalized.
More information on projects slated for stimulus funding can be viewed at the MDOT website, maine.gov/mdot


Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net.