ORONO (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- A $14.2 million grant for the University of Maine's engineering program aims to save taxpayer money.

Those funds were presented Wednesday by Sen. Susan Collins at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center in Orono.

The five-year grant will help UMaine engineers and scientists work with New England's other five state universities to extend the life of regional bridges, roads and railways.

"It's a great opportunity for students," said ASCC Executive Director Dr. Habib Dagher. "They will get paid to solve some of these very difficult transportation problems and then that would line up for a position in this field."

Related: UMaine engineering students helping to build better bridges

"It means jobs for these future graduates," Sen. Collins said. "It means new materials that will allow our bridge to last for a hundred years and it will allow us to build roads bridges and rail lines far more quickly than is possible today."

Also on hand for the announcement were Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt and UMaine President Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy.