$95M in bonds sent to governor
The Legislature recently approved $95 million in transportation, research and development, education, clean water and Land for Maine's Future bonds. Before the bonds are sent to voters in November, they must be approved by Gov. Paul LePage, who initially rejected the prospect of a bonds package.
The bonds package was passed before Moody's Investor Services' downgrading of Maine's general obligation bonds from stable to negative — a move prompted by Medicaid spending and low reserves.
As of press time, LePage had taken no action on the bonds, which were approved by two-thirds of the lawmakers present. A two-thirds vote of the entire Legislature would be needed to override a LePage veto on one or more of the bonds.
Below is a breakdown of bond packages:
- $51 million for transportation infrastructure: $36 million to the Maine Department of Transportation for highway and bridge repair, $5 million for rural road repairs, $3 million for dredging in Searsport, $1.5 million for industrial rail, $1.5 million for warehousing in Eastport, $1.2 million for statewide aviation projects, $1 million for state bus services, and $300,000 for a LifeFlight helipad expansion;
- $20 million for research and development in aquaculture, agriculture, composites, forest technology and renewable energy via the Maine Technology Institute;
- $11.3 million for higher education: $8 million for the University of Maine Animal Health Lab, $3 million to expand the community college system and $500,000 for Maine Maritime Academy;
- $7.9 million for clean water and wastewater projects;
- $5 million for the Lands for Maine's Future Program for deer wintering yards, hunting and recreation.