LePage signs budget for highway fund into law

By Matthew Stone, BDN Staff
Posted June 26, 2013, at 5:32 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday signed into law a $614 million highway budget that encountered little resistance in the Legislature.

The two-year highway budget funds the Maine Department of Transportation, the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles and part of the Maine State Police. LePage signed it into law shortly after the state House and Senate voted to override the governor’s veto of the two-year budget that funds most other state operations.

“The Highway Fund budget is fiscally responsible,” LePage said in a statement. “It does not raise taxes or fees, and it puts people to work. I am pleased to put my name to a budget that makes good sense for Maine people.”

The highway fund’s primary revenue sources are the state fuel tax and motor vehicle registration fees.

LePage’s highway budget initially proposed shifting excise taxes paid by tractor-trailer owners, about $4 million annually, to the state highway fund and away from the municipalities that now collect them. That proposal would have disproportionately affected the budgets of towns, such as Hermon, that are home to large truck fleets.

Lawmakers scrapped that proposal after it encountered stiff resistance from municipal officials. The budget that passed the Legislature, however, still reduces state aid to municipalities for road maintenance.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/06/26/politics/state-house/lepage-signs-budget-for-highway-fund-into-law/ printed on July 25, 2014