Poliquin’s Old Town Jobs Bill Passes Senate, Will Go to President’s Desk to Become Law
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Bruce Poliquin’s (ME-02) legislation to help business development and job creation in Old Town passed the U.S. Senate unanimously, clearing the way for the bill to be signed into law.
“I’m extremely thrilled with today’s passage of this critically important Maine jobs bill, the product of months of hard work from town and local leaders in Old Town and strong will and leadership in both the House and Senate,” said Congressman Poliquin. “When this legislation is signed into law, we will finally fix an outdated policy and at long last allow all the pieces already in place to come together to grow jobs and businesses in the heart of Maine. I especially thank my friends and colleagues Senators Susan Collins and Angus King for their leadership in getting this legislation across the finish line in the Senate. Maine is open for business!”
The Removing Outdated Restrictions to Allow for Job Growth Act (H.R. 1177) will revise an outdated law in Old Town by removing an obsolete deed restriction on a parcel of land next to the Old Town Airport. Congressman Poliquin’s bill will allow the airport to move forward with the project of developing the land to attract and welcome new interested businesses and jobs to the area.
The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 17, 2017. Now that it has passed the Senate, it is headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
Senators Susan Collins and Angus King introduced companion legislation in the Senate earlier last year.
Congressman Poliquin has worked closely with town officials from Old Town, local business leaders and officials from the Old Town Municipal Airport in developing this legislation in February 2017 to remove outdated restrictions on land so businesses can grow there and bring new jobs to the community.
Recently, town officials and officials from the airport have expressed interest in developing portions of the land adjacent to the airport for commercial use to attract businesses. In fact, the town has invested more than $1 million in infrastructure improvements to help bring job creators to the site. Multiple businesses have expressed interest in using the site, each bringing potential new jobs to the area. However, town officials recently discovered that antiquated restrictions exist that would prevent the site from being used for these businesses.
In 1937, Congress passed the Bankhead Jones Farm Tenant Act, a law that authorized the federal government to acquire damaged lands for the purpose of rehabilitating the space for various programs, mostly related to farming. Some of the land purchased was in Old Town. In the early 1980’s, this land in Old Town was sold to be used as part of the Old Town Airport with the stipulation that it only be used strictly for that purpose, due to requirements in law under the Farm Tenant Act.
The deed restrictions have long outlived their purpose. Congressman Poliquin’s bill would remove the deed restriction on the land completely so that the town and airport can move forward with the project of developing the land to attract and welcome new businesses and jobs to the area.