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Election 2012: States approve road bonds, block sales tax
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

Voters in Alaska and Maine this week authorized their state governments to borrow to pay for transportation projects. On the other hand, Arizona voters said no to more taxes for various purposes that include roads.

In Maine, voters overwhelmingly backed a $51.5 million bond issue for transportation projects. Question 4 on the ballot provides about $41 million for highway and bridge repairs throughout the state. Another $5 million will be allocated for local road improvements.

Industrial rail, port improvements in Searsport and Eastport, and other projects will also benefit.

In addition, the bond approval makes the state eligible for at least $105 million in federal and other matching funds.

Supporters say the money is vital to improving commerce and stimulating the state’s economy.

On the opposite side of the continent voters in Alaska approved a question about borrowing for transportation work. Proposition A would authorize $453.5 million in bonds for 36 projects throughout the state.

Projects include infrastructure to benefit economic development, as well as road and bridge improvements.

About one-third of the bonds will be used for port and harbor improvements.

Arizona voters rejected a ballot question to set up a permanent sales tax to benefit schools, transportation and human services.

Proposition 204 proposed the continuation of a 1-cent-per-dollar sales tax that expires next year. The question was defeated by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

The bulk of the proceeds would have been devoted for education, with about 20 percent split between transportation and human services. It would have raised an estimated $1 billion in the first year.

For more 2012 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

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