Comments for: Peter Vigue to promote east-west highway to Lincoln Chamber

Posted May 09, 2012, at 6:21 p.m.

LINCOLN | Cianbro Chairman and CEO Peter Vigue will tell Lincoln Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce members Friday why he thinks a privately funded east-west highway connecting two Canadian provinces through Maine should be built. Vigue will be the Chamber’s special guest speaker during its annual awards dinner Friday …

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  • Guest

    Promote for his own benefit. I think this is a huge conflict of interest and Mr Vigue has had his company in enough endeavors that are for his own bank account. He gets all the bids for EMMC jobs and he is on their board. NOT ok. How about some ethics here??

    • Anonymous

      Mr Vigue isn’t on the EMMC board of directors.  Do your research before you spout nonsense.

      • Guest

        He has been and it’s still all self serving and has been for years. Greed.

    • Anonymous

      Pete Vigue is not on the board of directors….where are you getting your info?  He should be on the board of directors…however, he is not.

      • fourCatssoon

         Peter is the CEO, that in my opinion is better pay scale than a board member:)

    • Guest

      check it out……..he was at one time and it’s still all self interest and has been.

  • If this project was as neccessary as Vigue claims then why is he out trying to drum up support for it ? More importantly, where is LePage’s public support for it beyond his signing the spending bill for it ? Those 2 question’s alone should be seen as a huge red warning flag that someone is trying very hard to sell us all a huge pile of moosepoop disguised as something entirely different. Also, to this point, is the very public fact that not one of the current crop of GOP Candidate’s for Oly’s Senate seat has said one single word in favor of this road. That alone tells me that even they know this project for what it is and want no part of it since once the voter’s see this road for what it is, namely a huge giveaway to the Canadian trucking companies, with absolutely no benefit to Mainer’s beside a few short-term construction job’s, anyone of them that has a campaign record of supporting it is gonna be dead as far as the polls are concerned. Add Paulie’s endorsement of spending $ 300 K for a clearly Big Business giveaway and even Raye is gonna start running as far from this road as fast he can if he wants to keep preaching the Tea Party line of cutting Gov’t spending to win Oly’s seat.

    And to preempt a sure to rise question, should Maine ever decide to exercise ‘Eminent Domain’ and recover the road, there is no doubt in the Highway Act a provision that calls for the road’s TOTAL DEVELOPMENT AND CONSTRUCTION COST’S to be reimbursed to Cianbro by Maine. Now, given Maine’s Budget for the forseeable future, does anyone have any idea where Maine is gonna come up with that kind of cash ? Can we all spell B-O-N-D ? This project has more twist’s and turn’s in it than a John LeCarre or Steven King novel and just as much sneakey as Slick Willie’s getting his ‘date’s’ in and out. So much for transparency in Government, isin’t it ?

    • Anonymous

      OK you say  maine will not benefit from this highway  ??  I say you are wrong  hears why people from  Maine will be working for the company that runs the highway like toll takers  , maintainense people  ect. There will be rest places were people will stop to buy food  gas ect . Now these rest places will have a mobile truck to take care of plat tires on 18 wheelers  they stop an can’t go on if theres a flat tire.  plus people that brake down they will need help too  . Ttrucks going thru  Maine will either buy fuel or they will half to buy a fuel permit from the state . So i guess Maine will not benefit at all from this highway 

      • Wholly, you can bet dollars to donuts that with the Act that allows this Highway to be built that Cianbro, and whoever they contract to, are gonna be paying wages BELOW MINIMUM’S since they got that provision in the Act. Same for the fleet service truck folk’s. And the toll taker’s are, and you can see it coming, gonna be on the CANADIAN SIDE of the border, not on the US side so there goes any of those U.S. job’s. As far as the maintenance goes, all Cianbro has to do stock a depot of materials at specific spots and contract-out the work on a daily rate basis, and are gonna do it at a pay rate BELOW MINIMUM’S since the Act allows them to.  If that’s what you call jobs then you are welcome to it. And as far as the food issue goes, do really think that there are gonna be any off-ramps that don’t have a Irving’s at it ? There goes the money, again, going over the border. This whole road is nothing more than a way for Cianbro to get posession of the land and then roll it over into a giant alleyway for both the road and the Canadian tar sand’s oil pipeline, and, as if we all really need the headaches, a roadway for the Bald Mountain mining ore to be moved. If Irving was smarter they would have had the ore moved by rail since it’s cheaper that way to do it. But they can’t since Irving already has over 80% of the current MMA rail space under contract. This whole thing stinks of rigged contracts and political ‘fix’s’.

        • Anonymous

          “This whole thing….”  Yes indeed, as surely as each day’s light rising over the Bay of Fundy.

        • Anonymous

          you are wrong yThey sort of override each other, in that you have to pay the higher of the two.

          In other words, the state can set a higher minimum wage than specified by federal law, and in that state you must pay the state minimum wage instead.

          A state could hypothetically establish a minimum wage that was lower than the federal one, but you’d still have to pay the federal minimum wage anyway.

          Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Does_federal_minimum_wage_override_state_small_business_minimum_wage#ixzz1uTNPNbN3ou can not over ride state an federal laws on wages

          • Federal minimum wage on a construction project is set by the prevailing local labor rate, That means that the Fed’s minimum wage for the kid’s at Mickey D’s isin’t applicable to construction project’s. That’s where both Union Contract’s and Davis-Bacon Act-directed money are supposed to come into play. But if the State has already agreed to a waiver of the Act’s provision’s, which is what this Act has done, then there is NO MINIMUM WAGE except whatever the employer set’s. And since the Act has given Cianbro ABSOLUTE DISCRETION over the entire project, using State-only fund’s, eliminating any Federal money or oversight, other than OSHA, from being involved as is being pushed so hard by Vigue, you can bet that they are gonna drive the labor rate’s down as low as possible (and tell the Union’s to go screw themselves in the process) to keep their cost’s down to get as much money outta the construction process as possible on the front end. That way, if it ever get’s challanged in court, if the eminent domain issue is raised, and Cianbro loses, they have already recovered their construction cost’s and losing the Highway doesn’t mean much. As much as the local AFL-CIO Labor Council needs these job’s, and I was AFL-CIO for a number of years doing Contract Negotiation, this is one job that they need to get into right now, before this goes any further. Allowing Cianbro ABSOLUTE WAGE AUTHORITY is going to do nothing more than drive the needed experienced worker’s out of the worksite and allow Cianbro to bring in unqualified or foreign worker’s (Gee, I wonder where from ?) using the arguement that they were the only one’s available for the cost’s they were working under. The recent Electrician’s Liscense arguement is the perfect example and is sure to be used.

            If, on the other hand, the domain issue is ever challanged, and the State lose’s, then Cianbro has a cash cow for the next 50 years with no oversight or management beyond the terms of the Act’s authority. That means they can raise the toll rate’s, and add any surcharge’s they want, anytime they want and there’s no way to stop it short of Maine going to court, again, and trying, again to assert the eminent domain / public interest arguement again. Maine’s court’s are gonna get tired of this and make the only real legal option their positon, that being that Maine has to reimburse Cianbro for the construction and development cost’s of the Highway if Maine wants the Highway so bad since Maine gave up all right’s and interest’s in it thru the passing of the Highway Act in the first place ! Since Maine’s financial position is not going to be doing that well for the very foreseeable future, that means their are only 2 options open. A SERIOUS TAX INCREASE, or, as is seen by anyone looking down the road, a State Bond Issue since that’s the only way Maine’s gonna get the cash neccessary to buy the road back. Either way, since this moosehump wasn’t stopped when we ALL had the chance, Mainer’s are gonna get the big B-O-H-I-C-A. And by the time this rolls around you can bet the farm that Paulie and Company are gonna be long gone !  

          • Anonymous

            Gosh I wish I could like certain parts of your obnoxious comments like when you say ”
            (and tell the Union’s to go screw themselves in the process)”  How many major companies are failing nation wide and have budgetary issues?  I will start the list: paper mill industry, automobile companies, schools, hospitals, USPS, Green Energy Companies….  What do they all have in common?  Unions, with the exception of the green energy companies.  Us tax payers just like to fund them with billions of dollars so they can go bankrupt within months and provide nothing to the people of the United States of America.  

          • So you don’t mind if Cianbro gets to have all Canadian labor on this project?  You don’t mind that there is no commitment at all to fair wages or maximizing employment and utilization of Maine people and companies?  Your willing to trust that Vigue would do the right thing?

          • Anonymous

            Where has it been said that Canadian labor will be used for the E/W Highway?  Is there any kind of source on that?

          • Anonymous

            2nd this question.  Assumption?

          • Renderman90 & Tired of Taxes23

            This is a history where Cianbro’ fiddled labor laws to hire Canadian workers when there were Mainers who wanted the jobs and were willing to work at the advertised rates:

            http://www.portlandphoenix.com/features/top/documents/02723930.asp

            It seems a reasonable risk that this same ploy might be used on the E/W Hway  and that it would most logically involve Canadian labor as Vigue refers to his “canadian partners”.  Certainly there is no “local community” in which to advertise for labor which would set this play up nicely.

            Mike Tiernan, fellow blogger here, is the labor expert and could explain whether there are any particular advantages in using Canadian labor at the same rates Mainers are willing to work..must have something to do with OSHA or workers comp. I can guarantee it has something to do with saving money by keeping wage costs to a bare minimum.

            My reason for being here at these Maine newspaper blogs is to promote good government, to flag and name places where I see undo corporate influence at work or where I see “we the people” don’t have a fair place at the table even when it is us to whom all are accountable.

            My purpose is never to exaggerate a risk, use fear tactics, provide false information or raise suspicion. 

            My purpose here is to let the public know that there are no fair wage provisions in the highway privatization statute Cianbro wrote and got passed with no public notice or hearings.  My purpose is to warn the public that a key issue in the privatization of highways is paying lower wages.  ( you can verify that for yourslef by googling “highway privatization fair wages” You needn’t take my word on it.

            My purpose here is to make sure people understand DOT has not come forward and said that fair wages will apply.  DOT has not come forward and committed to the Maine people on this.

            I think this will only happen if there is a guarantee of maximum utilization of Maine small businesses and Maine laborers.

            Vigue hasn’t and won’t do that.  His whole business model is premised on avoiding Davis Bacon and fair wage issues.

            “we the people” have to demand that with one voice, in my opinion.

            So I repeat my question do you. Do we demand these guarantees up front from MDOT and Vigue in a binding way ( legislation???) or do you tust Vigue to “do the right thing” by Maine workers and Maine small businesses?

            .I say we need it agreed to in a way that is absolutely binding.
              

             

          • Anonymous

            I don’t mind, that is the private sector doing what it does best.  You pay for what you get, talented people are not going to leave their jobs that they have now for less money, working 50-150 miles from home, and to be treated unfairly.  

          • Yes minimum wage but not fair wage.  On another project Cianbro fiddled Davis Bacon which applies to all state and federally funded to projects to hire all Canadian labor at well below Davis Bacon.

            In Maine wages default to “fair wage minimums” for each type of job,  Cianbro used these minimums to advertise, claimed there were no local applicants and then gave many jobs to Canadian workers even though there were Maine applicants at the advertised rates. ( or so it says in this newspaper account)

            Here is the whole story :

            http://www.portlandphoenix.com/features/top/documents/02723930.asp

            As a completely private road ( which I don’t think would be allowed ) there would be no davis bacon or fair wage standrds unless state or federal money were involved.

            As a PPP under Maines Highway Privatization staute written by and for Cianbro and associates, there are no fair wage requirements.

          • Lindsay, I owe you a beer. Been a very long time since I had anyone there with me on ‘the hill’ when the smoke and dust cleared. Thank’s !

      • Anonymous

        Plowing, truck stops, pavement, road construction, enforcement, trucking, and load transfer stations or reloads to add a few.

        • Taxes, do us all a little favor. Get the projected cost’s of these service’s and materals needed and see where and how the toll’s for the road add up and their use comes out when they get balanced out. 30 cents gets you $10.– that the toll’s won’t even come close. Where, or who’ is gonna make up the operating difference’s ? I’d love it if the toll’s could keep up. But is that really a practical possibility ? Look at the MTA’s budget and their maintenance of Maine’s tollroad’s. Not a pretty picture is it ? And these local toll roads aren’t even close to the length of what Cianbro’s proposing and the study’s not even underway yet.

          • Anonymous

            Mike, do me a little favor and add up the costs and advantages of of hauling double the weight, off road fuel tax credit, and cutting you mileage by 30%.  Fuel is the highest cost of doing business in the trucking industry right now.  The savings will be well worth paying the higher tolls.  Secondly, every single office and operation budget that the states or feds try to compete in whether it be the MDOT, plowing, road building, police force or fire protection would be cut in half if private industry were in the game.  It is no surprise that the MTA can’t make it with their inflated budgets, theft, and employee work ethic.  If I were you I would never try and compare public office with private industry again.  It is a very weak argument.  After all, the feds estimate of construction was 25 years and 30 million. Cianbro estimate, 5 years and 2 million. It that a good enough comparison of public vs. private sector?

          • Anonymous

            My question is simple. What are they gonna haul? Eastern Maine produces marine products (fish, clams, etc) and blueberries. Northern ME has taters and wood. None of these products need to go from NB to Que. So what are all these trucks gonna haul?

          • Acountian..This is a high priority Canadian  Gov’t Corrdior not a high priority U.S. corrdior or even a high priroty state corridor. The target market and virtual sole supporter of this highway are canadian trucks now carrying canadian goods up around Maine.  This road lets them move their Canadian goods and trucks right through Maine.

            So you are right.  This is not about improving transportation corrdiors for potaoes, blueberries, the emerging industry in Houlton, getting Maine products from our mills to markets, exanding our markets to other than Canada.

            This is about asking Maine to accomodate a Canadian high priority corridor, for Canadian benefit.  It includes at a minimum a $30 million border crossing upgarde at Coburn Gore, redoing any roadways or changing our rules on load and length to fit with Canadian requirements.

            I say fine..lets lay all that out honestly and see if and under what terms Mainers will accept that?

          • Anonymous

            You have very respectable comments.  Very impressive.

          • Actually that has not been the experience in Highway privatization.  No need to take my word on that . You can google it and   do your own homework.  Tolls double and triple under privatization because the mythical cost savings of privatization don’t and can’t materialize even with freebies like not having to pay fair wages.  Short trip users end up totally squeezed out and even on this highway as planned and revealed so far ,a private passnger vegicle woukl have to pay $10 too $30 for a one exit ride.

          • Anonymous

            There is no argument that tolls will be more expensive, this road is not for passenger cars.  It is for commercial traffic.  Short trip users will not need to be on this road at all.  The value of having the road should outweigh the cost of current highways, if it didn’t and can not save trucking costs it will not be profitable. If it is not profitable, investors won’t invest.

          • The only problem is that there is NO END TO THE RATE AT WHICH CIANBRO CHARGES ! And  MTA in this has no part since they are deliberately excluded from this whole thing. If there is one fact that is beyond question it’s the simple fact that these type private sector op’s always wind up going hog-wild stupid when it comes to their own interests vs. the public’s. Cianbro has a history of being ‘cute’ whenever they get the chance to jack-up costs in order to pad their corporate profit margin’s. Their use of Canadian labor, at lower rate’s and lower quality of work done, is a clear demonstration of this. And the Fed’s, when they estimate construction cost’s, always estimate on the high end and calcualte the time-till-replacement factor in to their paln’s. Cianbro uses the indusry’s model of cost’s to complete with no thought of maintenance or replacement. Is it a wonder why Cianbro comes out with a lower cost estimate ? When you deliberatley ignore the obvious you can always get the answer that you want, lie or not.

        • Again, for 50 years this would all be exclusively under Cianbro’s control ( assuming they are the investor/developer)..none of this highway subcontracts are per usual..there are absolutely no gurantees that Maine companies or Maine labor will be used.

          See my post below advocating a “concept plan” in which Vigue would have to iron this all out under DOT with pre negotiations with all stakeholders and agreements that would be binding on the project if it gets the go ahead.  Of course, what it takes to satisfy all stakeholders , as Vigue himself acknowledges in his strictly confidential 2008 report, could make the project infeasible hence the approach of secrecy, false promises, glad handing and demanding protection from stakeholders via DOT and DEP.

    • Mike..where is your cite on that Sate of Maine having to reimburse?

      Under the 2010 Highway Privatization Statute and as these PPP’s generally work, the 5o ( or in other states up to 75 year) year control period is supposed to completely retire all debt for development costs and all costs for maintenance are provided also from complete and exclsuive rights to all tolls and fees. 

      If it were done as a competely private road ( and I can’t imagine that is possible to allow a fully private toll road for 200 miles across the entire state of Maine) yes we would have to pay a fair price for that road to take it over as a public road.

        But would the Sate want it .  That is one of my chief concerms as a public policy person..that the road be designed annd built completely with a view to eventual takeover by the state and that it meet all Federal and State highway rukes and regs.( The PPP satute already stipulates that)  Imagine having to take it over and not being able to get federal funding because the road doesn’t meet federal requirements.  

      If the PPP ( Privatization Satute) were applied to say convert the Maine Turnpike to a Private Highway   or any bridge or railway in Maine to “private ownership”  the developer has to bid for the value of the road being taken over up front..the bid is awarded to the highest bidder and of course there is a reserve minimum on the auction.  The developer/investor then has control ( in Maine for up to 50 years) and pays all expenses for the repairs and improvements andpays off that debt and makes their profit on tolls and fees.

      • The cite to pay is a simple one under the US Constitution, namely the 4th Amendment that requires the State to reimburse the private property owner for seizing said owner’s private property (which under the Highway Act the road is considered) for public use. Connecticut tried that a couple of years ago in the New London Redevelopment District case. Connecticut lost, and by a huge SCOTUS margin ! When the SCOTUS ruled that Ct. had to reimburse the property owner’s for their illegal seizure of the land and dwellings under the eminent domain statute, the Court made that ruling CASE LAW. That means if the E-W Highway is ever determined to be needed for ‘greater public good under eminent domain’ that Maine is gonna’ have to pony up a lot of cash for it. That’s why this Act needs to be repealed and buried, once and for all, to prevent this type of disaster from happening again. Maine simply can not afford this monster, either now or in the future, as this one is gonna come back to bite us all in the butt !

        PS; Read your comments about the Canadian Government Corridor. Right on ! That makes the arguement for the road’s only being good or Canadian firms with no value to Maine about as clear as it can be made.

        • Oh Thanks Mike, yes you are right the Constitution requires payment for land taken for a public purpose.

          Another details to hold MDOT to acount for right up front.  Who will own this road at the end of the 50 years.  Most ppp stuates, but not ours, clearly stiulate, that it reverts automatically to public ownership with no payment.

          The private entity has eraned whatver profit it sought and has paid off the road way. .

          Not clear how that works under our statute.

    • Hi Mike..

      I just re read the State Highway Privatization legislation and legislative history and  corrected a post I had made.  The statute says onlythat the term of the agreement is a maximum of 50 years.  It doesn’t clearly say that in a case like this title would revert to the state.  It doesn’t say what happens after 50 years.

      Also in my re reading I believe it may already provide for a completely private roadway under specific agreement and terms set by DOT..a question of Nina Fisher, DOT Constituent Liaison to clarify for us.

      Also did you notice that the Federal Government has announced a $30million + contract award to a NH firm  for a crossing described at “near Jackman”..that can’t be Coburn Gore so there’s another question for Nina and Vigue..obviously there won;t be another $30+ million for a crossing at Coburn Gore.

      Just seems to get more and more cloudy and raise more and more questions instead f getting clearer.

  • fourCatssoon

    Simple – follow the money:)

  • Anonymous

    May 15th should be entertaining, another idea written on a napkin and funded by the taxpayer…..Fail.

    • Anonymous

      The state government is forcing the investing group to do a feasibility study.  Their answer was, if you force a study of development of privately owned land, that private individuals pay taxes on every year, than you pay for a feasibility study.  That just makes since.   If there wasn’t so much regulation and BS that went along with development, I guarantee the road would be built already with no tax dollars being spent.  That said, WHEN the project goes through, the investing group will be refunding the money to the state.  

      • Well, except I don’t think it is constitutional or possible to have a 200mile totally private 4 lane toll road.

        If that isn’t possible there is only one path and that is  under the ill gotten Highway Privatization statute Cianbro wrote for iytself annd got passed in 2010 with no public notice and no public input.  Under that statute a proposer is supposed to include such a study at its own expense,

        Mysteriously MDOT says there is not current applicant under the privatization staute and it is not clear the highway will become a privatization project under the statute.

        They say that the study is for the benefit of MDOT. Perhaps to answer questions like is it even legal to have a totally private 200 mile long toll way?( iei no state involvedment no eventual state takeover, no eminent domain)

  • Anonymous

    Mr Vigue also wants to build a Industrial windfarm 3/4 mile from beautiful East Grand Lake. Is this why he chose the Lincoln Chamber as his stage?

    • See, there are more than a few folk’s out here who can see Vigue’s plans than just so-called liberal’s. An industrial windfarm is gonna need a whole lot of road to move the equipment and people around to build it. It’s also gonna need a lot of ground to make space for the power cabling and support equipment. All of this requires both space, and when moving the tower’s and the blades, a lot of open road since the trailer’s are superextended’s wired together. When Stetson was being built, Rt 2A was almost shutdown when the trailer’s came down it. What’s also been made very clear is that once these are built there are almost no LOCAL JOB’S related to the maintenance for them for any local hire’s. So much for Vigue’s claim’s of ‘encouraging local jobs and hiring’. The longer this plays out, the more Vigue’s claims are gonna be seen for what they are, namely lies and promise’s that have no possibility of ever happening. And the longer it does play out, the closer it gets to November and the election’s. Who’s Party is publicly supporting Vigue ? Tick tock, tick tock ………

      • PaulNotBunyan

        Any type of power plant will have some jobs per megawatt number for building it and another for operating it. We like both of those to be low if it’s reducing our energy costs. Cheap energy creates jobs in other industries so that makes job reduction in the energy industry a positive factor. The problem with these wind farms is that they are not reducing our energy costs. I don’t know how you could compare them to a natural gas fired plant which produces electricity 24 hours a day even if the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining. Anyway, I think you will find that the jobs per megawatt factor for operating gas fired plants is not very high. It’s probably not that bad for building them if they are close to an existing pipeline. I’m not promoting gas as the best way to go – just giving an example. From what I’ve observed I think hydro dams might be the ones that need the smallest number of workers for operation. Obviously they are not cheap to build. Solar is probably the future but not the near future. The cost per watt for solar panels will decrease but energy storage is the key factor. We need cheap high capacity batteries and inverter systems to make solar power practical. Of course, that would also make electric vehicles a lot more affordable.

        • Agreed Paul. That’s why, well over a year ago, I started looking at alternative’s to what I am getting right now from EMEC. The closest I could find, besides hydro, which is all but useless here in The County, is a biogas power plant (www.bloomenergy.com). Given that both Millinocket’s plant, with the Dolby Landfill, and UM Bangor’s arangement with Casella and Mt Trashmore’s gas production are both working it seemed lke a good idea. Small powerplant’s, locally run using biogas and water, would go a V-E-R-Y long way toward reducing Maine’s power requirement’s. It would also, in conjunction with the E-W Highway, open up a lot of this area, responsibly, without the damaging ‘cut and trash’ method’s now used. One look at Stetson Mt and that settles all arguement’s on that issue. With these power plants operating, using local resources that Maine is both in control over and has the raw materials or in abundance, we wouldn’t need any of Paulie’s ‘negotiated power contracts’ with Canada. We’d control our own. These plant’s would also create job’s by the simple fact that with power comes development. By controlling the powerplant placement’s, and that could be done by either local, County or State process’s, business’s could open in various parts of Maine and start getting this State back on it’s economic feet. And do so in keeping our State from becoming another North Jersey ! 

          Am I a big wind advocate ? Frankly, I’m still out on that until someone shows me some real, independent data on power produced, cost’s of transmission and compares it against the prior power source’s same data. But this much I do know. Wind is a part of the solution. Europe has it and it’s working. Holland and Germany have it and it works. Solar has the potential. Gas is here now but has a lot of issues to be dealt with, responsibly, before we can all jump on that particular bandwagon. The current Bangor Gas crying jag is proof of that for all to see.

          Am I a ‘rep’ for Bloom ? No, but I am not so blinded by extremist position’s and deafened by media hype and press release’s to see that this type of power generation has potential here in Maine. Is there a cost ? Sure, as does every start-up project until it break’s even. Any business owner knows that as do the non-profit’s as well. But should we be so scared to say ‘Oh no, it’s too expensive’ to not step back and take an objective look at the cost’s and the benefit’s, of all type’s, before we decide ‘NO’. To do so tells the Country, the business community and the voter’s that we are either too dumb to the point of deliberate stupidity, or arrogant to believe that we know it all.  Maine has had entirely too much of that recently. Maybe it’s time we all admited that ‘staying the course’, when the course isin’t working, needs to change and start looking at option’s that we were to afraid to admit might work that we need to understand better. If Maine wants to grow I can’t think of a better starting point, can you ?

  • as long as he does not want a cent more from the taxpayer he can promote until he is hoarse.  The $400,000 the state has already promised for a study is a waste!

    • Guest

      How is investing in Maine’s future a waste? We had Baldy bankrupt Maine’s future with his policies to turn us into a welfare state.

      BTW if you actually read the article it was state that the money would be paid back. Unlike 90% of Maine’s other investments.

  • PaulNotBunyan

    Privately owned, my ___! I think they’re hoping this study generates some interest in a state-owned toll road. There are some serious issues with a privately-owned highway of this size. One would be that some of us won’t accept it unless it is subject to all Maine laws and patrolled by real cops. Another issue will be heavy local opposition to some elements. One possible route would follow the stud mill road to costigan. That’s quite a bridge they will need to build across the Penobscot if they choose that route. Some of us are highly uncomfortable with a privately-owned bridge of that size being allowed. If this road is economically feasible we’re better off to sell bonds and build it as a state toll road. I have no problem at all with the state collecting tolls from a bunch of Canadian truckers.

  • Anonymous

    The East-West highway is a no-brainer that is long overdue.  Why are we still discussing the feasibility of it?  Get it built!

    • Anonymous

      It’s all a matter of branding and marketing: call the US 1, ME 9, I-95, US 2 corridor the Pine Tree Dirigo East West Highway and have it done with. Fix it where it needs it and we’re all happy as clams! All except for good old Pete, maybe. 

      • hpmcg

        Actually after we last spent taxpayer dollars on this in 1999 that is exactly what the findings of the several expert studies came to.  In the MDOT Executive summary and also in a statement by then Governor King the finding was nothing in it for Maine economically, not finacially feasible, far better to invest in improvements to 2 and 9 for their existing uses.

        What has changed is that Kennebec West Forest LLC acquired all the land on which the stud mill rd sits and a lot of the land on which other private roads sit and with them as partners ( along with Echo Easement LLC who actually control the Stud Mill Rd and a 2000 ‘ corridor on which it sits Vigue sees a possibility of doing this w/o any public involvement at all including no eminent domain especially if it is combined with an energy/utlity corridor which would generate fees and income in addition to tolls.

        At Vigue’s site http://www.eastwestme.com he is stating this will be 100% private..no eminent domain, no public funding of any kind.

        But there is no statutory authority for that at the moment..only the privatization statute Cianbro wrote for itself in 2010 which is very very different and requires a turnover to the state in 50 years.

        EDIT 05/11/12..I just re read the statute and legislative history. It says the duration of the agreement is 50 years but it doesn’t clearly say that in a case like this the State would take title.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think that Vigue, or anyone else who has not been threatened with eminent domain can understand what it is like.  (And remember, this “utility corridor”  is supposed to be 2,000 ft. wide, and what falls outside the actual path of it will be uncompensated  collateral damage.)

    Your whole relationship with your property is altered.   It’s  like it already doesn’t  belong to you.  You can’t  dream about putting up even a shed, because you don’t know if it is worth the effort.  You and your property are on hold.   Will the low “market value”  in your area ever repay you for all the years you put in lovingly tending your garden, or landscaping the woods  to make it feel park like?

    Your life’s work and dreams and solitude and beauty may soon disappear.  And the uncertainty makes your chest pound.

    I’ve lived with this for only a month or two now, and I don’t know how much longer I can take it.

    • Anonymous

      As someone whose property is likely to be taken, I’m 100% with you.   Perhaps we need to start a “Occupy Cianbro and Irving Oil” campaign?  They’re the ones who will truly benefit.

      • Anonymous

        How do you know your property is likely to be taken?

        • Anonymous

          From the map on the MPBN website and knowing the typography of the region.

          • Anonymous

            That’s a rather large assumption isn’t it?  I’ve read quite afew comments of people claiming to be in the path of this based on maps from different places.  Why not wait and find out where this thing is proposed to go before folks go get their torches and pitchforks.

          • Anonymous

            If not my property…my neighbors…or other Maine property owners.  We all have a right to stand up for what we believe in. 

      • Irving Oil doesn’t own any of the land involved in the proposed route.all owned except for a few sections here and there by Kennebec West Forest LLC who obvously have some sort of agreement with Vigue.

    • You are right old Pete and there are a few areas where it could come into play..Dover Foxcroft and the Costigan crossing where the Stud Mill rd ends and the few stretches along the way not already owned by Kenebec West Forrest LLC who own all the land otherwise under Vigue’s rd.

      The 2000′ corridor already exists on most of the eastern leg..it is the corrdior on which the Stud Mill Rd sits and it is controled by  Echo Easement Corridor  LLC, a subsidiary of former owner International Paper.  In court documents on a dispute involving Kennebec West Forest LLC who own the land under the Stud Mill Rd an Echo executive said they stood to gain $353 million from the E/W Hway .

      So unless you are in a section that Kennebec West Forest LLC does not already own, there is probably no risk of eminent domain affecting you.  Kennebec West Forest owns almost all the land on the prosed route and obviously already have some deal agreed to with Vigue on this.  

      Also, Pete, the State publicly has said use of eminent domain would be a “last resort” and a whole lot of people will be standing with you should it come to threatening your property and your community.

  • Guest

    Why don’t Cianbro’s OSHA violations at the arena project ever make the news?

  • Anonymous

    It’s become very obvious that governot lopage is on Cianbro’s kick back payroll.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a proven money maker for Vigue.

    $30 to hear him blat.

    $300,000 in tax dollars handed to him by the GOP and LePage.

    Let the good times roll.

    yessah

  • Anonymous

    I appreciate all the people who have obviously done their homework on this issue.  My biggest concern is the lack of transparency with this project.  I certainly won’t pay $35 to listen to Vigue’s baloney but if anyone happens to go maybe you could ask 1.) why all the secrecy?  This “public private partnership” has a specific law created just for the purpose of keeping people in the dark.  This  law, created a couple years ago, states that all dealings regarding this transportation “public private partnership” are exempt from Maine’s freedom of access law.  So “they” are purposely keeping Maine people in the dark on this project. (Please do your own research at the Maine.gov web page) 2.)  Who is “they”?  Who’s this big investor for the 2 billion dollar industrial corridor? Mainer’s are still not privy to this information either. and my final question would be 3.) does this have anything to do with the hydraulic fracturing fields located on either side of the Maine border (which this road will connect).  And yesterday, a gentleman from Aroostook county posed a question regarding Irving Oil’s mining plans in Aroostook County.  He wanted to know where’s the waste going to go?  And the masterminds weren’t able to tell him.  I suspect the state is preparing to get into some real destructive and nasty business.  Mainer’s beware!  Chances are good that if it’s shrouded in this much secrecy and behind the scenes backslapping, then it’s not in our best interest.  I thought the fight to settle the Maine – Canadian border was supposed to be over!

    • Guest

      Not everything is a conspiracy. Often the case is that what people see as secrecy is the fact that not much is known by either party.

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant.  Pretty good deal when the elephant gets us to pay for a study of how many peanuts “we” need.

  • Anonymous

    This east-west highway will be built.
    Better get use to it…

    • Anonymous

      Sure it will. And it will have an exit for us to visit the Dickey-Lincoln Dam.

      • Anonymous

        Just a matter of time…

  • Anonymous

    I am glad Mr Vigue is standing in with the “vision thing”. The road would be a plus to Maine’s economy, and the scale of this project, with the timeline involved, it  is anything but short term and ( a far safer bet than Obamas taxpayer losses in the “green sector”).  We have roads all over the nation and we have made great strides in protecting the water ways. What is missing is this east west corridor. Certainly we have to insure the details are in the open;  further Maine’s interests, safeguard the environment, and compensate those who suffer through necessary land acquisition. That is called planning, and all concerned parties should be involved.

    That is why a real investment study of this caliber is warranted. 300k is a handful of change, although it is chump change with respect to other follies we are fundiing with tax dollars. And, if the decision to invest in the infrastrucure goes through it will be recouped.

    Hardly a reason to start saying “no to progress” instead of “how do we do it right”. Of course some construction outfits are going to be engaged in a profitable execise in construction. Building things, it is what humans do. And there will be many spin-offs along the way. We have a deep sea port in Eastport which will gain commerce. A boon for Washington county, part southern Maines fly-over zone. Maybe it is Mr. Vigues signature act, and in twenty years we will raise a bronze plaque honoring his energy, commitment, and vision.

    • Anonymous

      If Mr. Vigue can sell this “pig in a poke”, perhaps we should give him an Oscar for his “signature act”, rather than a bronze plaque.

      • Liberal Soup N Crackers

        Why do you call this a “pig in a poke”?

        • Anonymous

          Because it seems to me that there’s very little specific information available about this project.  Mr. Vigue and supporters of the project seem unwilling to provide us with the “specifics”.

  • What  we need on the E/W highway not just from Vigue but more importantly from MDOT who must step out of the shadows on this, is transparency, clarity truth, not a glad handing PR tour.

    As Louis Berger & Associates obviously advised Vigue, the process to make this work is to pre-negotiate with all stakeholders and work out the terms and conditions in advance.  It is also called a “concept plan” it is the most important modern planning tool to emerge and is used in NYC and alsewhere to pre plan controversial projects.

    It is what we should demad of MDOT on this very controversial and inherently highly polarized proposal, especially after we have shelled out $300,000 in public dollars to accomodate, once again ( the 118th legislature made the same demand and we spent a fortune back then on this) . 

    We need a completely transparent process and pre-settlement with all stakeholders.

    Of course all of our northern county growth centers like Houlton and Lincoln could use more focused support from the State and of course trasportation corridors are key.  That does not make the E/W highway the answer to their problems or the best corrdior plan to support their needs.

    The truth of this was told in the original 1999 series of studies on the E/W highway.  That truth has not chanaged at all.  That truth is that we have an enduring and persistently negative trade balance with Canada..yes they are the largest foreign destination for all Maine product ( on the west in Quebec/Ontario) but we have the same natural resources as them ..they are growing much faster than us and the balance of trade with Canada isn’t going to chnage for Maine.

    What we need is more product and more markets other than Canada for what we produce. What Licoln needs, what Houlton needs is more State support for that.

    The truth, according to the expert studies in 1999, is that a four lane toll road will divert 100% traffic away from existing rds which support many small communities and businesses and will have a net negative impact on Maine. That’s what the State and the Governor concluded after all those expensive tax payer funded 1999 studies.

    That was the finding of experts in 1999 paid for at tax payer expense.  Now we are spending $300,000 to look at those same reports again( see the MDOT RFP) and assess whether any of those fidings have changed.

    They haven’t.

    This road is about Vigue having 5o years of control, income and cash flow .  This project is about building a Canadian High Priority Corridor.  It isn’t a U.S. priority corridor..it isn’t as Vigue insists just as good at the Federal Highway priority corrdior. 

    There are many many many other transportation corridors for northern Maine that would serve Maine and we should be focusing on those.

    The public and press have been dogged by security and body guards at every single one of Vigue’s glad handing events.  A well known highly regarded reporter pre registered was asked to leave the do at the Senator. Dover Foxcroft citizens who went to the St. Stephenns event were dogged the whole way by security.   No questions from the public are allowed at upcoming events in Dover Foxcroft. 

    It is all the very opposite of truth and transparency.

    Say what it is.  Put that before the Maine people and see what they say. Maybe you can negotiate with the Maine people.  But all this glad handing and secrecy and false promises is not going in the direction of public acceptance.  It is going in just the opposite direction.  

    Growing public concern and outrage at how this prokect is being being foisted on the State and on northern Maine. Growing pubic outrage about the scertive ghighway privatization staute authrored by Cianbro for Cianbro’s benefit with absolutely no public notice. Mainne people are deeply offended by the idea of a public road being under absolute control of a private investor for 50 years. Ad a totally private road clear across Maine, well I don’t think Consiutional or legal and no one in Maine will aloow that to happen.

    A pre negotiation with stakeholders in a concept plan approach that yiellds binding agreements under Maine DOT is the only way to go on this.

  • Guest

    —-

  • Anonymous

    Aren’t there any other outfits in Maine that are capable of building things like the new Bangor Arena or this East West Hwy? Cianbro seems to be the only one to get the big jobs, you never hear of any others. Don’t these projects go out to bid? Naturally Mr. Vigue wants this Highway to be built, it’s very big bucks for his company, but do the  people in the state agree that it should be built? 

    • Anonymous

      Does it matter if the people of the state want it built?  Our legislature listens to people like Vigue, Parker and Sargent, not the rest of us.  These construction company heads have learned how to use Maine government to feed projects into their businesses – whether the state needs them or not is of little consequence.  Whether Mainers want them or not is of even less consequence.  They are exactly what Eisenhower warned the country about years ago – policy and law being dictated by those who will profit most from the policy and law.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone, anywhere know if there’s an actual proposal anywhere for the highway? And, if so, could you please provide a link so that we might look at the proposal to see what’s in it for Maine?  Or are we just supposed to approve it and then be given the “nuts and bolts” later?

    • Hi blyvl,

      I was looking for a link I saved somewhere that has the current most likely route.  Couldn’t find it.

      The eastern part and almost half the length is the Stud Mill Rd, privately owned with a  controlling easement 2000′ wide held by former owner International Paper. The owner of the easement has some sort of agreement with Vigue et al. as in court papers in 2010 the owner of the easement said it stood to gain $353 million if the H’way is approved.

      It is between the end of the Stud Mill Rd in Costigan to the connection with privately owned land  on othe west that the route might effect existing resideces and small businesses.

      Ceratinly if we are paying $300,000 fora ge asibility study it is based on a specific rooute..you might ask DOT officially.

  • Anonymous

    Boy these clowns at Cianbro want that road built no matter how many Mainers are made homeless. They must have been paid off big by the Canadian Trucking outfits. Hey Cianbro go fix the many many Maine bridges that are ready to collapse. Oh that’s right your buddies the Tea Party Republicans refuse to pass the transportation jobs bill.

  • Not sure what the implications are for the E/W Highway but there are federal moves afoot, influence by truckers and union/workers rights lobbies to severely restirct the use of  highway privatization by the State.

    http://reason.org/news/show/senate-transportation-bill-ppp

    (Reason is an extreme right wing lobby)

    It has passed the Senate but Reason is urging the republican controlled house to set it aside.

    I haven’t had a chance to review it all but it may apply only to the use of PPP’s for existing infrastruture.

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