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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $444,009 to Develop Strategic Plan For Maine SpacePort Complex in Augusta, Maine, Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $444,009 grant to the Maine Space Grant Consortium, Augusta, Maine, to develop a strategic plan for the Maine SpacePort Complex. The project, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $148,489 in state funds and $111,442 in local funds.

“Promoting the commercial space industry has been one of the Trump Administration’s top priorities,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This EDA investment will diversify Maine’s economy by advancing the establishment of the Maine Spaceport Complex that is expected to include an Innovation Hub with research, development, and manufacturing facilities, as well as launch facilities in Aroostook and Washington counties.”

“Maine’s coastal geography gives our state a unique advantage in the emerging commercial space industry,” said Senator Susan Collins. “This funding will advance the development of the Maine SpacePort Complex, an exciting project that will position our state to become one of the few northern launch sites and create good-paying jobs for Mainers.”

“After almost seven months of living in this new world brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, it is clear that Maine’s economy is hanging in the balance. We must diversify our economy to make it more stable far into the future,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-01). “The Maine SpacePort Complex will increase Maine’s participation in the global market for emerging nanosatellite and aerospace technology—a financial sector projected to bring between $500 million and $2.5 billion to Maine’s economy each year, along with 75,000 highly skilled workers over its lifetime. These new operations will drive growth and innovation in Maine, attract a much-needed younger population, and revitalize the former Brunswick Naval Air Station and the former Loring Air Force Base. Where Maine was once well-known for hosting squadrons before they flew over the Atlantic, our state will now be known for developing the vehicles that cross through space.”

The funding announced today will serve one of Maine’s 32 Opportunity Zones. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources webpage. To learn more about Opportunity Zone best practices, see the recently released White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report (PDF) to President Trump.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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