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Business and Economy

King touts infrastructure bill in reaching Maine’s goal of expanding broadband access

U.S. Sen. Angus King touted the benefits of last year's bipartisan infrastructure law on Tuesday, pointing to its wide-ranging impacts on everything from clean energy storage to bridges.

In a virtual press conference, King specifically noted that, between the infrastructure package and last year's American Rescue Plan, Maine received more than $400 million to expand high-speed broadband across the state.

"If you add those, it should be enough to ensure that every person in Maine has affordable access to high-speed broadband. The pandemic underlined why that's important," King said.

King said that with those investments, he expects that the state could meet Gov. Janet Mills' goal to provide high-speed internet access to any resident who wants it by 2024.

King also singled out about $390 million from the law that will go towards upgrading Maine's water systems. He says some of that can be used to address the growing issue of PFAS, or forever chemicals, which have recently been found across the state.

"I think this is going to be something that we have to deal with long term. It's just one of those things that we have avoided in the past and we can no longer," King said.

State environmental officials recently estimated that it could cost of tens of millions of dollar to address the issue.