ELECTION 2015: Maine voters to decide on $85 million in highway bonds

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 9/29/2015

Voters throughout Maine will decide in five weeks whether to approve an $85 million bond initiative.

Question 3 on the Nov. 3 ballot will ask voters about a plan to fund highway and bridge work throughout the state.

“This bond is critical for the state to deliver on its current work plan commitments, which keep our transportation system strong,” Gov. Paul LePage said when he signed the bill putting the question on the ballot.

The general fund bond proposal would designate $18 million for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of high-priority highways; $47 million would be allotted for bridge replacements and rehabilitation; and another $17 million would be applied for improvements that include the state’s ports, harbors, and transit and freight rail.

The bonds are needed to secure an estimated $121.5 million federal match.

Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt said he believes voters are on board with building “a solid, well-built, well maintained transportation infrastructure.”

“I am confident when asked in November, the voters will continue to allow us to strengthen Maine’s economy and build a transportation system that will benefit generations to come,” Bernhardt stated.

Critics say it’s not good business to rely on borrowing each year to pay for projects. Instead, they would like to see the state include needed funding in Maine’s annual budget.

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