Sen. Herbig votes to send vital transportation bond to Maine voters
AUGUSTA — Sen. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, joined colleagues in the Legislature to send one of the four bond proposals to Maine voters for their approval this November. This proposal includes critical investment in Maine’s roads and bridges. The bond passed unanimously in the Senate and 127-8 in the House of Representatives.
Unfortunately, Republican lawmakers prevented Maine voters from getting a chance to decide on investments in high-speed internet access in rural Maine; facilities upkeep for Maine Army National Guard; technical education funding; wastewater management; and Land for Maine’s Future.
The only bond that Maine voters will consider invests $105 million in transportation projects. These funds will support repairs, upgrades and routine maintenance for Maine highways, bridges, culverts and working waterfronts. It will also contribute to good-paying jobs in the construction industry. Several reports indicate that construction workers are standing by and ready to do this work so Mainers can safely go to school, work, and about their daily lives. The bill was passed 32-0 in the Maine Senate and 127-8 in the House of Representatives.
“Construction crews can prepare to get to work now, knowing that lawmakers have supported funding for critical road and bridge maintenance. However, I’m truly disappointed that so many lawmakers didn’t see fit to send proposals that would have boosted Maine’s economic development to voters for their consideration,” said Sen. Herbig, who serves as chair of the Legislature’s Committee for Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business. “Too many Mainers and too many rural Maine towns have been left behind by constant technological changes and gaps in our workforce. Businesses contemplate leaving Waldo County because of the lack of reliable high-speed internet to compete in today’s economy. More of our kids need access to technical education for jobs in the trades. Further, Mainers deserve to rest easy knowing that the Maine National Guard is ready to be there when we need them most. It’s time we invested in Maine’s economic prosperity.”
A bill sponsored by Sen. Herbig on behalf of Gov. Janet Mills, LD 1848, “An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Provide Broadband Internet Infrastructure in Unserved and Underserved Areas of the State, Maintenance and Improvement of the Maine National Guard Armories, Readiness Centers and Support Facilities and Capital Improvements and Equipment Purchases for Career and Technical Education Centers,” received a vote of 21-11 in the Senate and 85-51 in the House.
The bond would have made $23 million in vital investment for Maine’s economic development, including career and technical education programs; Army National Guard facilities and high-speed, reliable internet across rural Maine. This bond would have provided funding to support our armed forces by restoring and modernizing their facilities to better serve Maine. The bond also would have ensured CTE programs have updated equipment to help students gain skills to fill our workforce needs and lead successful careers in the trades. Lastly, this bond supported efforts to expand access to reliable, high-speed internet in rural areas of our state to help local businesses and students remain competitive in the marketplace.
The transportation bond will appear before all Maine voters on the ballot in November.