The Star-Herald

Legislature sends transportation bond to voters

The Legislature convened in late August for a special session to vote on whether a package of bonds would be sent to the public for approval in statewide vote. We had four bond proposals before us, which ranged from investing in career and technical education to improving rural broadband internet access. These bonds, if passed in the Legislature, would be voted on by the public so you could weigh in on what initiatives are the most important to fund in the state of Maine.

 The sole bond that the Legislature approved is related to transportation and infrastructure upgrades and repairs across Maine.

This transportation bond would raise $105 million. The Maine Department of Transportation will use $100 million of this money to make upgrades to bridges, state highways and secondary roads. These projects will improve the ways Mainers get around the state, by focusing on roads, bridges, airports and ports, among other initiatives. There will also be matching grant funds from the federal government and other sources to issue an additional $137 million to support transportation and infrastructure upgrades.

In November, you will find this bond on the ballot, and you can vote on whether Maine should issue a bond to raise the money to fund improving our transportation infrastructure.

 If Maine voters approve this bond, it will help fix roads in the County, which will make them safer to drive on and make it easier for drivers to get around. I’m also excited about the contributions this bond will make to our economy, by creating construction jobs and supporting small businesses with the increased investment in the area. 

 Aroostook County stands to benefit greatly if voters support this bond. Out of this $105 million, $85 million will be dedicated to work on the top three areas of concern that the Maine Department of Transportation has determined. The projects covered are numbered by priority level, and they all impact Aroostook County in some way.

 Priority 1 roads include Route 1 in Aroostook County, as well as the Maine Turnpike and the interstate system. Even though Priority 1 roads account for only 8 percent of all miles in Maine, they constitute 42 percent of all vehicle miles traveled in Maine. Priority 2 roads include important through roads, such as Route 11 from Sherman to Fort Kent. Priority 3 roads consist of important major collector highways and the last through ways. This bond will benefit Aroostook County by making upgrades to Route 1A from Mars Hill to Van Buren.

As your state senator, it is incredibly important to me that you have the opportunity to share your opinion in how the state invests its money, both in our community and in Augusta. I’m proud to say that I joined every one of my colleagues in the Senate to support this bond going to voters for your consideration.

 Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office at (207) 287-1515, or email me at Mike.Carpenter@legislature.maine.gov if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

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