July 21, 2018
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Maine legislators settle on $200 million borrowing package to send to voters

Beth Brogan | BDN
Beth Brogan | BDN
Construction crews work to replace a viaduct that carries Route 1 over Bath in this 2017 file photo. Maine lawmakers voted Monday to send a $106 million transportation bond question for similar projects to voters in November.
By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff

The Maine Legislature on Monday agreed to $200 million in bond projects to send to voters in November, after more than a year of stagnation about how much to borrow and for what.

The three proposals finalized Monday would pay to maintain roads and bridges, underwrite projects in Maine’s public higher education facilities, and fund initiatives to protect the environment from wastewater.

LD 836 would provide $64 million, which would be matched with at least another $49 million in public and private funds, for projects in the university and community college systems, including infrastructure improvements and equipment for new program offerings.

LD 1815, in the amount of $106 million, would support maintenance of transportation infrastructure across Maine, including a $1 million pier project at Maine Maritime Academy and $5 million for a revolving loan fund administered by the Department of Environmental Protection to support culvert projects.

LD 1510, which was already signed into law by Gov. Paul LePage, would provide $30 million for a range of wastewater treatment projects, with the bulk of the money used to protect shellfish harvesting areas.

The bond bills were culled from dozen proposed by lawmakers dating back to early 2017. The current state budget includes enough funding for $300 million in new borrowing but lawmakers did not zero in on a compromise package until recent weeks, during a special legislative session that has not yet ended.

In recent weeks, Democrats, who have majority control in the House, have refused to move the transportation bond, which the Maine Department of Transportation needs to continue its work schedule, over a conflict with Republicans over a number of issues.

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