FORT KENT – Maine Sen. Susan Collins says a Senate committee has approved a $5 million increase in funding for the Northern Border Regional Commission.

Collins, a Republican, says the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $15 million for the commission. She calls the commission “a critical source of investment for northern Maine communities.” The border commission also serves three other states that touch the northeastern border with Canada.

The appropriations committee has approved language specifying at least $3 million of the funding must be used to address the decline of forest-based economies in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.

Collins says the additional funding will help improve the forest products industry in the region.

The border commission is a federal-state partnership. The appropriation will now go before the full Senate.

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