Strengthening Our Vital Infrastructure and the Health of Our Communities

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills, and thank you for listening.

You know, three years ago, my administration created the Community Resilience Partnership. The idea is to help local communities across Maine to improve their ability to withstand intense storms and other impacts of climate change and to reduce carbon emissions and to boost energy efficiency.

Since that time, 226 towns, cities, and tribal governments, representing nearly 70% of Maine's entire population, have joined the effort to strengthen their communities. I'm proud of that progress; but new research from the Maine Climate Council confirms that in the coming years, Maine's weather will be more extreme, with more intense winter storms, for instance, like those we saw last winter.

We have to keep strengthening our vital infrastructure and the health of our communities. That's why we're investing another $5 million through the supplemental budget recently approved by the Legislature in the Community Resilience Partnership to allow another 100 communities to participate.

Earlier this week, I announced the first $2.4 million in resilience grants to 54 communities across Maine – including Auburn, Gardiner, and Gouldsboro, which each received a grant of $50,000.

The city of Gardiner will use that money to assess the vulnerability of its community and its waterfront infrastructure, focusing on the locations hardest hit during the winter storms.

The city of Auburn will use its grant to install six electric vehicle chargers in two priority locations: the Auburn Public Library and the Norway Savings Bank Arena.

And the town of Gouldsboro will use its grant to plan for the redesign of two roads that are essential to the working waterfront operations there and to access to Corea Harbor. Right now, those roads which were washed out last winter during the storms are highly vulnerable still to sea level rise and to storm surges.

When taken together with the historic $60 million in storm relief we also enacted this session, I hope this new funding provides some sense of security as communities across Maine work to rebuild stronger.

I will do all I can to preserve our working waterfronts and other critical infrastructure across the state for years to come, in the face of worsening weather, to keep our people, our communities and local businesses healthy and safe, and our economy strong.

This is Governor Janet Mills, and thank you for listening.