Governor introduces bill as standalone measure, rather than through supplemental budget, to speed up approval and distribution of funds to communities in need
Governor Janet Mills announced today that she will expedite her $50 million proposal to help communities rebuild infrastructure and enhance climate resiliency by introducing it as standalone legislation rather than as part of the forthcoming supplemental budget.
During last week’s State of the State Address, the Governor proposed to invest $50 million in the Maine Infrastructure Adaptation Fund to help Maine communities rebuild in the wake of the recent devastating storms and ensure their infrastructure can withstand the impacts of extreme storms in the future. The funding would come from Maine’s record-high Budget Stabilization Fund, known as the “Rainy Day Fund”.
The Governor decided to introduce the proposal in standalone legislation – rather than as part of her forthcoming supplemental budget – in order to more quickly advance the bill through the legislative process and, she hopes, deliver more immediate relief and support to hard hit communities.
The Governor’s bill will be sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson and Speaker of the House Rachel Talbot Ross.
“Communities hard hit by the recent storms are in need of help, and we want to deliver that help as soon as possible,” said Governor Janet Mills. “By considering this proposal apart from the supplemental budget, I hope we can more quickly move it through the Legislature and, ultimately, distribute these vital funds to Maine communities with urgent needs faster.”
The Maine Infrastructure Adaptation Fund, created by the Mills Administration and the Legislature in 2021, provides grants for significant infrastructure adaptation, repair and improvements that support public safety, protection of essential community assets, and long-term infrastructure resiliency.
Project types may include working waterfront infrastructure, culverts, storm water systems, water system upgrades, and other interventions that support reducing or eliminating climate impacts, especially coastal and inland flooding. The funds are intended for public infrastructure projects with exemptions available for some types of private infrastructure upgrades with significant community benefits, such as working waterfronts.
Under Governor Mills, Maine’s Rainy Day Fund has reached a record high. The fund currently Stands at $968.3 million–the maximum amount allowed under State law. Under State law, the Budget Stabilization Fund is allowed to reach a maximum of 18 percent of the Fiscal Year’s General Fund actual revenue from the most recently closed Fiscal Year. The maximum amount is recalculated annually.
The Governor’s legislation is expected to be introduced in the coming days. She intends to release her supplemental budget proposal shortly thereafter.