Sen. Hill's bill on COAST to be considered | Portsmouth Herald

Posted: November 18, 2011 | News Items, Senator Hill, Transportation

Memorial Bridge closure spurs demand for public transit

November 18, 2011

AUGUSTA, Maine — State lawmakers voted Thursday to allow a bill that would clear the way for a local transit company to expand into Maine to be considered during the next legislative session.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Dawn Hill, D-York, would provide protection from tort claim lawsuits for New Hampshire-based COAST.

“This issue was brought to my attention by officials from Kittery and the surrounding towns because of limited public transportation options since the closure of the Memorial Bridge,” Hill said. “COAST has expressed interest in providing the service.”

Hill said there is demand for public transportation in Kittery, the shopping outlets, Eliot and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

“This means of transportation is essential for helping our businesses and residents along the state line, especially during the bridge closure,” she said.

Legislative leaders last month voted 5-5 against allowing the measure to be heard next session. Hill asked them to reconsider their decision Thursday during an appeals hearing.

Following her testimony, which focused on the economic impacts of the bridge closure without the benefit of a public transportation system, the bill was voted 10-0 to move forward in the upcoming session.

“I appreciate the unanimous support and look forward to addressing the issue this session,” Hill said.