AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine Gov. John Baldacci says a newly enacted law represents a “critical step” in the redevelopment of the Brunswick Naval Air Station.

Supporters joined Baldacci in Augusta on Tuesday for a ceremonial signing of the legislation, which creates a state fund to support the reopening of the base’s dual runways as a civilian airport.

The legislation, which took effect April 12, also calls for reinvesting portions of new state income tax revenue generated by businesses moving to or expanding on base property.

Redevelopment leaders hope to attract new businesses to help replace the roughly 6,500 jobs estimated to be lost as the Navy moves out. Brunswick Naval Air Station is scheduled to close by May 2011.