Maine will not spend public money on toll road study

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 5/10/2013

Legislators in Maine sent a message this week that they do not want taxpayers to fund a study that would benefit a private toll road developer.

The Maine Legislature’s Standing Committee on Transportation advanced a bill to repeal a law that requires the state DOT to spend $300,000 on a feasibility study for the proposed 220-mile East-West Highway.

The bill, LD985, sponsored by Committee Chairman Sen. Ed Mazurek, D-Rockland, also demands public access to documents exchanged between government agencies and the would-be road builder, Cianbro Corp.

Private firms can conduct their own studies for the $2.1 billion toll road proposal, but the state will not be obligated to reimburse the developer for the work.

In a separate bill, the Committee on Transportation chose not to ban the use of public funds for other private transportation studies.

Transportation planners have eyed an east-west corridor across Maine for decades to connect the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick.

Construction firm Cianbro Corp. came forward in 2007 and offered to build the East-West Highway as a private toll road.

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