AUGUSTA — A Lewiston Democrat who is visually impaired and doesn’t drive is seeking to encourage more legislators to carpool to the State House.

Rep. Roger Fuller is asking colleagues to boost mileage payments for lawmakers who give a ride to their fellow legislators.

Fuller testified this week that he relies on the goodwill of others, mostly his Lewiston and Auburn colleagues, to get to and from legislative sessions.

“They say that being present is 80 percent of the job, and, while that’s true, I’d throw at least 15 percent of that into the issue of getting there,” Fuller told the Committee on State and Local Government.

He said that providing a 25 percent bonus for mileage payments to those driving fellow legislators would encourage more carpooling while saving the state money because it would be shelling out for fewer overall miles.

“This is a win-win for everyone who carpools,” Fuller said.

The state now pays 44 cents per mile for legislators driving to and from the State House. Adding 25 percent for anyone driving a colleague would boost the reimbursement to 55 cents a mile.

Fuller said legislators “tend not the carpool” because their schedules often don’t match up well given the wide array of committee meetings and other obligations.

But, he said, it can work.

“Carpooling not only saves time, but promotes communication,” he said, since lawmakers talk as they drive back and forth to Augusta.

At “a negligible cost,” he said, his proposal would encourage more communication and get some cars off the road.

“The implementation would be easy, and the results might be important,” Fuller said.

The committee plans to take up Fuller’s proposal at a work session Monday.

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Roger Fuller

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