WASHINGTON – Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Chairman of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, announced today that the federal government will restore the $1.6 million in funding for a Maine project to collect high-definition color aerial photographs of the state.
“This funding is critical to Maine for its homeland security efforts as well as its day-to-day operations and strategic planning,” Collins said Thursday. “Every dollar is vitally important to the state and to its voters.”
Last year, Maine voters approved $2.3 million in state spending for a geographic information systems library. That expenditure, however, was dependent on Maine receiving the $1.6 million in federal funding. The federal money was to be used to create a collection of high-definition color aerial photographs of the state, which is a primary component of Maine’s homeland security planning.
In January, however, federal officials planned to divert part of that money toward another project to create maps of the nation’s most populated cities, which would have included only Augusta, Maine’s capital city. In a February 13 letter, Collins and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) urged the U.S. Geological Survey to reinstate full funding for the Maine project. On Friday, Charles G. Groat, Director of the Geological Survey, wrote a letter to Collins in which he stated that he was committed to restoring the federal matching funds. The letter is posted on the committee’s Internet site at www.govt-aff.senate.gov.