U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of both the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced that Maine will receive nearly $100 million for federal building improvements through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Senator Collins worked with a bipartisan group of senators to craft the economic stimulus legislation that became law earlier this year.

The stimulus funds will be provided through the U.S. General Services Administration which oversees federal government buildings and other infrastructure as well as the purchasing process. In Maine, nearly $47 million will be used for land ports of entry infrastructure improvements for Calais ($6.3 million), Madawaska ($750,000), and Van Buren ($39.7 million). In addition, the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building will receive $52.82 million and the Edward T. Gignoux Courthouse in Portland will receive $193,000 for improvements, including making them more energy efficient.

“This funding is an important component of the stimulus package that will help rebuild our aging federal infrastructure while also creating good jobs in Maine,” said Senator Collins. “Modernizing and improving Maine’s ports of entry will better accommodate the needs of local residents, legitimate trade and travel, and the officers working at the ports. The funding to renovate the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor and the federal courthouse in Portland will help make them more environmentally-friendly, thus lowering energy costs to taxpayers in the future and extending the life of these important public buildings.”

As Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Collins, along with Chairman Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) are holding a series of hearings to examine how the federal government will account for the billions of dollars expected to be spent over the next two years as a result of the economic stimulus package and help ensure that strong accountability measures are in place and that the spending is as transparent as possible.

The inquiry also focuses on ensuring that appropriate measures are taken to prevent cost overruns as agencies enter into contracts to spend ARRA funds, that strict oversight of contractor performance occurs, that grant conditions are met, a qualified acquisition workforce is in place, and that fraud is promptly prosecuted. The Committee is also looking at the challenges of presenting quick and accurate information about how the funds are being spent so that taxpayers may follow the process and determine if their money is being spent wisely and effectively.