Bond package moves on to Maine voters

AUGUSTA – The Maine State Senate approved five bond proposals, totalling $149.5 million in critical investments, to create jobs and strengthen Maine’s economy. All four of the five bond proposals received unanimous support with Senator Thomas being the only Senator to vote against the University of Maine System bond proposal.

“Investments like these are a win for our workforce and our economy,” said Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash. “Make no mistake, this isn’t just about fixing our buildings and roads. It’s also about the people who get trained in those buildings, it’s about the industries that rely on them, and it’s about ensuring our workers can get back to work today and be prepared for the jobs oftomorrow.”

The bond package includes $100 million for infrastructure investments in roads, bridges, ports, and working waterfront.

“A safe and strong transportation network is the foundation of a growing economy everywhere in our state,” said Assistant Senate Majority Leader Anne Haskell of Portland. “Investing in our roads and bridges will create jobs now in the construction industry, and provide a strong infrastructure to prepare our state for the future.”

Three education bonds totaling $35.5 million will fund upgrades to higher education facilities, including science, nursing, and GIS (geographic information system) lab improvements, at the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, and Maine Maritime Academy.

“With these investments, Maine’s universities and colleges will strengthen and expand opportunities for thousands of Maine students,” said Senator Emily Cain of Orono, the sponsor of the community college bond. “Upgrading and renovating science labs, STEM classrooms, and nursing facilities will ensure graduates have the skills and training they need to qualify for the jobs of the future.”

Finally, the package includes $14 million for armory maintenance and renovations, a bond sponsored by Senator John Tuttle of Sanford.

“Maintaining and repairing our armories creates jobs and ensures our servicemen and women have safe, up-to-date facilities as they train to serve their country,” said Senator Tuttle, a veteran of the Maine National Guard.

The Legislature gave the necessary two-thirds support of the bond proposals for the individual bonds to now be sent for voter approval on the November ballot.