BANGOR, Maine — The Maine Department of Transportation will receive $4 million in federal grant funding to help improve transportation around Acadia National Park and to help replace a ferry serving Islesboro, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins announced Monday evening.
Specifically, Collins stated in a press release that MDOT has been awarded $3 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration for the Acadia Gateway Welcome Center and Intermodal Passenger Facility in Trenton.
“Acadia National Park is a true gem of the Maine coastline and an important piece of Maine’s tourism industry,” Collins said in a press release. “Investing in the Acadia Gateway Welcome Center and Intermodal Passenger Facility will encourage visitors to use the Island Explorer bus system, alleviating traffic congestion and improving the park experience for everyone.”
The center on Route 3 already has a completed maintenance and transportation facility for the seasonal Island Explorer bus system, which provides fare-free transportation during the summer and fall on and around Mount Desert Island.
Officials with organizations involved in the Acadia Gateway Center — which included MDOT, Island Explorer and Acadia National Park — have said the next phases of the facility are expected to include 320 additional parking spaces for cars and similar vehicles and 10 spaces for larger recreational vehicles, and a building that has public restrooms, a welcome center and space for local Chamber organizations to provide information about area amenities outside the park.
According to Collins on Monday, another $1 million from the Federal Transit Administration will be used to help fund the design of a ferry to replace the Margaret Chase Smith, which services Islesboro via Lincolnville.
“Additional funding will help the Maine Department of Transportation design a new ferry to better service Maine’s island communities,” Collins said. “This not only provides critical upgrades to our aging ferry infrastructure but also continues to promote economic development to our island communities.”