The Legislature’s Transportation Committee has proposed a $60 million bond, in anticipation of federal highway funding, that would match $30 million committed earlier from existing budgets. This money is vitally needed to fix Maine’s roads and bridges which, as just about everyone knows, are not exactly in top-notch condition.
A perennial problem became an emergency when the Department of Transportation announced last fall that it was canceling $130 million in road work over two years – 20 percent of the entire program. A working group, with a unanimous, bipartisan report, recommended the partial restoration of projects that the Transportation Committee is now supporting.
Unfortunately, legislative leaders of both parties are not going along. They insist – without explaining why – that Maine can only afford the $30 million, and not the $60 million bond. They are wrong. The state’s Highway Fund debt has dropped by two-thirds over 10 years, and we know we will get the federal dollars to repay the bond now being proposed.
Because the Transportation Committee knows what all Mainers know – that our economy and good jobs – depend on a reliable highway network, they have taken the unusual step of opposing party leaders and taking their case direct to the floor.
They need our support. Our state’s future prosperity depends on it.
Larry Morin, Auburn