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Politics

Maine Will Get At Least $100 Million For Broadband In Pandemic Relief Package, King Says

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ANDREW HARNIK
/
Associated Press
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on 'Policy Response to Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. Elections' on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Washington.

Independent Senator Angus King says Maine will get at least $100 million in funding for broadband improvements as part of $10 billion that's been set aside for that purpose in the new $1.9 trillion federal pandemic relief package.

King — a long-time proponent of major investments in broadband — says the federal funding will significantly change Maine’s economy by allowing more companies to locate here and luring professionals that can work from home.

“I think this money will end up generating additional money from the state and the private sector and from the communities. This is a big deal for Maine. I think this is Maine’s number one infrastructure challenge,” King says.

King says he expects the money will start flowing to the state  in a matter of weeks, and that some projects can get underway later this year. The legislation also includes $7 billion for an expansion of educational connectivity and remote learning, and Maine will also qualify for significant funding under that portion of the relief act.

He calls the funding "a transformational change that I believe will have an enormous positive impact on Maine into the indefinite future."