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Lawmakers reject proposal to repurpose Portland Harbor dredging funds

A lobster fishing boat travels out of Portland harbor at dawn, Friday, June 10, 2022, in Portland, Maine.

Posted on February 22, 2023

A proposal by the administration of Gov. Janet Mills to divert money away from dredging Portland Harbor has been rejected, as Maine lawmakers stand by an earlier commitment to contribute $10 million toward the dredging project.

The administration had proposed re-allocating $10 million from the dredging project to a program that helps small businesses offer health care. But city officials from Portland and South Portland said that $10 million could be key to getting additional federal grants to pay for the project. And the supplemental budget passed by lawmakers last week keeps the dredging money in place.

Jessica Grondin, a spokeswoman for the city of Portland, said the project will directly benefit 30 private commercial properties along the waterfront.

“Which will then directly support dozens of businesses and hundreds of jobs, thousands of vessels that right now, when it’s not high enough tide, cannot access the piers because of the need for the dredging. So unless we do this, it’s cutting of their access to getting to those piers, Grondin says.

Portland and South Portland officials are hoping to receive an additional $10 million from the federal government for the $32 million project.


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