Washington's grant announcements for the $1.5 billion TIGER stimulus program were announced this morning. Despite its laundry list of long-shots, Maine did receive one grant: $14 million for the ports of Portland, Searsport, and Eastport. Even this award comes up short, though: the Maine Ports Authority had requested $32 million, and they'll receive less than half that. That means they'll have to either scrounge more money from the Maine DOT, which will resent the ports' energy efficiency and lack of highway lanes, or triage the projects it had hoped to accomplish.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Looking over the grant awards from other states, it's clear that Maine's wish list failed to meet the Obama administration's goals to create more livable, economically vibrant communities. Augusta wanted the money to rehab abandoned freight railways through the woods and build new roads in the most rural areas of the state; Washington wisely decided that the money would be better spent on projects like Philadelphia's bicycle and pedestrian network, a commuter rail extension west of Boston, new streetcar lines in New Orleans, Tucson, and Dallas, and light rail in downtown Detroit.
Maine's grant applications were mired in the past; the awards went to cities and states that are looking to the future. Let's hope that Augusta can learn from its failure.