News Release for July 9, 2010

For more Information:
Paul Merrill, Public Information Officer - 207-624-3355 or 207-215-9297


MaineDOT Awards Nearly $600,000 Dollars to Coastal Communities

The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) is awarding nearly $600,000 ($582,678) in grants to 7 coastal cities and towns under the Small Harbor Improvement Program (SHIP). This includes a $100,000 grant from the Department of Conservation’s Bureau of Parks and Lands Shore and Harbor Management Fund.

The Small Harbor Improvement Program supports approximately 18,000 licensed commercial fishermen and related industries along the Maine coast that increasingly rely on these public facilities for access to resources. With coastal real estate pressures forcing changes away from public ownership, SHIP protects a dwindling public asset through a successful state/local partnership. Examples of successful initiatives under this program include pier reconstructions, float installations, boat ramp rehabilitations, new hoist installations, navigational improvements and gangway replacements.

“This represents a major effort by MaineDOT and Maine municipalities to improve and protect working waterfronts while at the same time promoting sound economic development and public access along the coast,” MaineDOT Commissioner David Cole explained.

Funds for the SHIP grants were authorized by the legislature and approved by Maine voters through a jobs bond referendum in June of 2010. These grants required a local cash match of at least 10%, but this year’s matches averaged 83%. The total program effort is expected to exceed $3.5 million ($3,513,918).

Since 1995, seven previous rounds of SHIP awards have dispersed $6.19 million to 68 different coastal municipalities totaling 119 projects. Without this program, municipalities would likely forsake such important projects or be forced to carry out the project with only local resources. The program enjoys widespread support from coastal municipalities and statewide commercial fishing and marine interests.

“We are very pleased by this continued level of interest in the Small Harbor Improvement Program. The 30 grant applications reflected a continuing need for cities and towns to address public waterfront infrastructure such as wharves, floats, boat ramps and piers,” Cole continued.

The successful projects were selected based upon criteria that included the economic impact of the project, the thoroughness of the application and the ability of the project to be carried out in a timely manner in order to create and support jobs.

“Due to the economic boost that these new projects will provide and the past success of the completed SHIP projects, we are looking forward to getting to work right away with these cities and towns in order to keep people working,” said Cole.

2010 Small Harbor Improvement Program Awards

Total $2,931,240$582,678$3,513,91883%

Note: Westport Island SHIP Amount includes $100,000 Department of Conservation, Bureau of Parks and Lands, Shore and Harbor Management Funding.