Do you favor a $100,000,000 bond issue for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities, equipment and property acquisition related to ports, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds?
Mainers spend an extra $300 per year, on average, on vehicle maintenance because of the poor condition of the state’s roads, according to the latest assessment from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The group rated 38 percent of the state’s roads as being in fair to unacceptable conditions and nearly a third of the state’s bridges as structurally deficient.
Last year, Gov. Paul LePage proposed borrowing $100 million per year for at least 10 years to address these deficiencies, as well as many others plaguing Maine’s transportation infrastructure.
The funding in Question 6 is a needed first step in tackling this work. We recommend a “yes” vote.
The Maine Department of Transportation expects to use $80 million from the bond to repair and rehabilitate highways and bridges. It will focus work on the highest priority highways and bridges. The remainder, $20 million, will be used for multimodal facilities — port, rail, aviation, bicycle and pedestrian and transit facilities or equipment. The matching federal and local funds would mirror state investments.
The bond is also an important economic investment to improve commerce and the construction work will create jobs. The timing of this bond is also good as interest rates are low and Maine has the capacity for more borrowing.
A “yes” vote on Question 6 is needed, and it is a good investment.