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April 14, 2011

Two-year transportation plan released

State transportation officials have unveiled a two-year, $765 million transportation plan to upgrade the state's highways, bridges and roads.

The plan, released yesterday by Department of Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt, includes $75 million to improve 1,763 miles of highway, replacing 34 bridges and rehabilitating 53 bridges, according to the Bangor Daily News. A total of $76 million is slated for air, mass transit, harbor, rail and pedestrian/bicycle programs, while $18.1 million will fund bridge projects related to the interstate highway. Another $34.4 million represents Maine's share to replace the Memorial Bridge between Maine and New Hampshire. Other projects include $10 million to reconstruct exit 15 off I-295 in Yarmouth, $5 million for I-95 exit 80 in Lewiston and $8.1 million to reconstruct 3.4 miles of Route 11 in Eagle Lake in Aroostook County, according to the DOT's report.

Bernhardt said the plan reflects more efficient use of transportation funding; highway reconstruction will be 5% less than the current two-year budget, but 20% more miles will be upgraded, according to the paper. The plan does not include any borrowing, but will transfer $20 million from the general fund to the existing transportation fund.

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