Today, Representative Mike Michaud announced that a spending measure that will be voted on tomorrow in the House of Representatives contains $5 million he pushed to include for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). Michaud authored the legislation that created the NBRC, which invests in the most economically distressed areas of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Upstate New York. In previous years, the NBRC has not been funded at more than $1.5 million.
“This is a significant increase in funding that I know our region will put to good use,” said Michaud. “Because commission projects leverage significant additional funding, the impact of even a small investment can be substantial. By more than tripling the previous funding levels, this bill provides our communities with more economic development opportunities that will allow them to capitalize on local strengths and create jobs.”
Last summer Michaud said in an interview that he was working with Sen. King to help move to fund the NBRC.
The NBRC, which has been funding initiatives in the states it covers since 2010, is based on the highly successful Appalachian Regional Commission model. A sample of projects the commission has funded in Maine can be found below:
- $250,000 to help expand the Port of Eastport to allow it to serve the bulk materials market, both in import and export capacities.
- $200,000 to construct an agricultural building that serves as a vegetable processing plant, diversifying local agriculture and expanding markets for local producers.
- $50,000 to establish a public-private partnership to link entrepreneurs with investors and additional support to grow businesses and jobs in Aroostook and Washington counties.
- $250,000 to promote a regional effort to expand economic development and tourism opportunities for communities in the St. John Valley region.
- $141,150 to fund a multi-state initiative building recreational infrastructure and catalyzing rural economic results along the 740 mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.