November 19, 2018
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Mainers OK borrowing $200 million for roads, bridges, campuses and water system upgrades

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Voters line up outside the Expo building in Portland on Tuesday morning, waiting for the polls to open.

BANGOR, Maine — Continuing their long-standing trend of approving requests to borrow money for big projects, Maine voters on Tuesday approved all four bond questions on the state ballot.

All four bond questions reflect a perennial need to maintain the state’s aging infrastructure and passed with ease. Mainers have approved 22 transportation bonds since 1990.

The Bangor Daily News and Decision Desk HQ forecast victories for all four bond questions by 1:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Voters showed the strongest support for Question 3, a standard $106 million transportation infrastructure borrowing package. With roughly 85 percent of precincts reporting by noon Wednesday, yes votes were registering 68 percent of the total vote.

Question 3 will allow the state to invest $106 million into maintaining Maine’s water and land transportation systems. Any bond proceeds are expected to be matched by approximately $88 million in federal funds. The bulk of the money — $80 million — will be directed to reconstructing high-trafficked roads in Maine in most dire need of repair.

Another $20 million will be used to rehabilitate harbors, ports and marine transportation, and another $5 million will be administered by the Department of Environmental Protection to upgrade culverts in areas where fish and wildlife habitats intersect with municipalities.

Question 5, a $15 million bond to upgrade facilities at Maine community colleges, also garnered strong support, tallying 64.7 percent of the total vote with almost two-thirds of precincts reporting.

By a narrower margin, Mainers backed Question 2, a $30 million wastewater system upgrade bond, and Question 4, which would provide $49 million, matched by another $49 million in public and private funds, to modernize and improve Maine’s university system’s facility efficiency across all seven campuses. The money would be used mostly for renovations.

Question 2 was tracking at roughly 55 percent, while Question 4 was receiving 54.5 percent.

For a roundup of Maine political news, click here for the Daily Brief. Click here to get Maine’s only newsletter on state politics via email on weekday mornings.

 


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