AUGUSTA — Maine’s transportation officials say the state must double the amount of money it spends on bridges to ensure their safety and prevent significant long-term costs.

The Maine Department of Transportation currently dedicates about $70 million a year for bridge replacement and maintenance projects. But a recent report by the department says it needs at least $140 million to slow deterioration and improve Maine’s bridges.

Commissioner David Bernhardt told lawmakers on the Transportation Committee on Tuesday that the report is just the beginning of a conversation the state needs to have on this issue.

Bernhardt said part of the solution will likely come from bonds and reallocating money that’s dedicated to roads. He said the state also wants to see more money from the federal government.

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