Baldacci introduces $79M bond package


AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine Gov. John Baldacci has released details of a $79 million bond package that he says “will put people back to work this year.”

The bond proposal unveiled Wednesday includes $62 million for highway, port and rail projects. $5 million of the package will go towards rail improvements in Lewiston-Auburn, a project he estimates will create 75 jobs. The package would also benefit Auburn and Lewiston sewer districts and the Lewiston-Auburn Water Pollution Control Authority for treatment and energy upgrade projects, according to a release.

Also included in the transportation spending is a total of $4 million for highway reconstruction projects on Route 156 in Chesterville, Farmington, Jay and Wilton.

His proposal is smaller than a $99 million jobs bond package promoted by Democratic legislative leaders. Lawmakers will aim to reconcile the versions with a goal of putting them before voters in June.

Both versions include money for highway construction and for the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway in Aroostook County to keep open 240 miles of track.

Baldacci’s announcement coincided with the latest unemployment report of 8.2 percent in January. That compared to 7.3 percent in January 2009.