Committee postpones action on Libby’s pedestrian safety bill

Posted: March 27, 2017 | Senator Libby

Delay gives Maine DOT time to weigh in on road safety recommendations

A bill by Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, to help municipalities pay for pedestrian safety improvement projects has been paused by the Legislature’s Committee on Transportation.

On March 23, the Committee voted unanimously to postpone further work on LD 584, “An Act To Create the Fund for Municipalities To Improve Pedestrian Safety,” until a newly-established Department of Transportation working group can give recommendations on pedestrian safety investments and improvements.

As currently drafted, the bill establishes a fund in the Department of Transportation to provide money for pedestrian safety improvements, such as lights, paint, signs, speed bumps and reconstruction of intersections.

“While I am disappointed the Committee will not be acting immediately to get more money to municipalities in need of pedestrian safety improvements, I am glad to hear the Department is taking a serious look at this issue and I look forward to seeing their recommendations for action,” Sen. Libby said.

Currently, towns and cities struggle to finance the most basic road maintenance and improvement projects. Pedestrian safety investments, including high visibility crosswalk paint, rapid-flashing beacons and other safety features are often beyond the reach of less affluent communities.

The grants created by Sen. Libby’s bill would cover up to 80 percent of the project’s costs. If the project were in an area identified by DOT as a dangerous intersection, the fund would cover the full cost of the project. The bill also requires biennial reporting to the Legislature’s Transportation Committee and municipalities on the program and on pedestrian crash data.

The Department of Transportation’s working group is expected to make recommendations later this year. Further action on LD 584 will happen in early 2018.