Members of the Maine Congressional Delegation have applied for funding for more than 150 projects from Kittery to the St. John Valley through the Earmark, a special discretionary spending mechanism that returned to Washington this year.

Officially known as Congressional Led Spending Items, ear tags allow lawmakers to charge money for specific projects in their state or district, such as: B. to finance road and bridge repairs, substance treatment programs, modernization of water infrastructure and land purchases. Not all ear tags proposed by members of the Maine Congressional Delegation are ultimately funded, but they do provide some insight into lawmakers’ priorities.

Earmarks were part of the legislative process for a long time until Congress banned them a decade ago after multiple scandals raised concerns about corruption and waste. The Democrats – with the support of House Republicans – decided to bring them back this year with some precautionary measures, on the basis that including certain projects important to individual MPs and their constituents would help achieve compromises.

Government agencies and non-profit organizations are entitled to earmarked funds, but private, for-profit companies are not. The legislature must certify that neither you nor your family members have a financial interest in a project for which you are making funds available.

Almost all Democrats in Congress have proposed ear tags, while some Republicans have been more reluctant, despite Senator Susan Collins, who sits on the Grants Committee, among those in her party who have voted with more than 70 motions. Senator Angus King, an independent working with the Democrats, has proposed more than 100.

While there are no limits on Senators, House Democrats have limited their membership to 10 requests. Chellie Pingree from District 1 and Jared Golden from District 2, both Democrats, each submitted this amount. In some cases, two or three members of the Maine delegation submitted an application on behalf of the same institution or project.

Emergency management projects were the most common type of funding request from the Maine delegation, with proposals for new fire stations in the towns of Corinna, Washburn, Limerick, Howland and Rumford, and fire training facilities in Scarborough and Auburn.

Collins also requested $ 850,000 for a new emergency management facility in York County, while Golden requested $ 300,000 to purchase ambulances for the East Millinocket Rural Ambulance Service, and King proposed $ 1 million to power the Cumberland County Emergency radio system To replace management agency.

Several of Pingree’s requests were for health care, including funding a community-based dental care initiative for children and two drug use treatment programs in Portland and Augusta.

The size of the proposed ear tags varies widely. Minor inquiries include $ 38,000 that King requested to upgrade public toilets along Moosehead Lake in Greenville and $ 75,000 from Collins to survey the Georges River in Knox County and prepare for dredging.

Major inquiries include $ 10 million requested by Collins to improve safety on a section of Route 1 in Camden, and $ 12.8 million from King to replace the Badge Island Bridge in Kittery , and nearly $ 13 million filed by both Maine senators for rail updates in Aroostook County. Collins also requested nearly $ 94 million for updates to the Coburn Gore port of entry in Franklin County, by far the largest spending request from a member of the Maine delegation.

Legislators could consider spending bills for fiscal 2022 later this summer. Many requests will not be included in a final bill this autumn, as the commitments can only represent 1 percent of the discretionary expenditure. For a full, searchable list of ear tags proposed by members of the Maine Congressional Delegation, see the table below.