AUGUSTA — A $1.1 billion budget to pay for Maine’s highways and other transportation expenses has been presented to lawmakers.

The Portland Press Herald ( ) says Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt presented the budget to lawmakers on Tuesday. Bernhardt says his proposed budget would eliminate 56.5 vacant positions from the department, cap state costs for employees’ health insurance and freeze merit and longevity pay for employees, to save about $1.3 million over the two years.

The highway fund budget is reviewed by the Transportation Committee. It’s separate from the state’s $6.3 billion general fund budget, which was submitted by Gov. Paul LePage and is being reviewed by the Appropriations Committee.

Bernhardt says nearly two-thirds of his department’s budget pays for road and bridge work and other maintenance.

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