Question 3: Transportation

The Gist

Passing this question would allow the state to borrow $106 million for transportation improvements. This is the second of 3 consecutive years of transportation bonds that will fill a shortfall in the highway fund. [5]

Ballot Question

“Do you favor a $106,000,000 bond issue, including $101,000,000 for construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities and equipment related to ports, piers, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds, and $5,000,000 for the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings? ” [2]

Yes Means

I am in favor of issuing the $106 million bond to address infrastructure improvements.

No Means

I do not want Maine to borrow $106 million to address infrastructure improvements.

Tell Me More

Passing this question would allow the State of Maine to borrow $106 million for a variety of infrastructure improvements, including highways, bridges, ports, railroads, airports, bicycle, and walking trails. [3]

This is a bond issue -- if voters approve the bond, it means that the State of Maine is allowed to borrow money for the project described in the ballot question and has to pay it back over 10 years. [3] Learn more about how bonds work.

Follow the Money

Principal: $106,000,000

Interest: $29,150,000 (assumes 5.0% over 10 years)

Total cost: $135,150,000 [4]

The money will be used to:

  • $80 million (plus $88 million in matching funds) for highways, secondary roads, and bridges [4]

  • $20 million (plus $49 million in matching funds) for projects that “preserve public safety or otherwise demonstrate high economic value in terms of transportation” for things like  ports, railroads, airports, bicycle, and walking trails [4]

  • $5 million (plus some matching funds) to fund a Department of Environmental Protection grant program for upgrading fish and wildlife habitats [4]

  • $1 million for improving a pier at Maine Maritime Academy [4]

The money will be coming from:

  • $106 million bond issued by the state and paid back through the budget and taxes over 10 years. [4]

  • $137 million matching funds from the federal government and other sources [4]

  • Matching funds from municipalities (they will be required to match 50% or more of project costs) [4]

Pros

The primary arguments for this referendum are:

  • Maine's roads and infrastructure are deteriorating

  • Makes up for some of the shortfall in gas taxes from fuel-efficient vehicles that has left the funds for highway repairs insufficient

  • Issuing the bond opens up matching funds.

  • Interest rates are currently low, making it a good time to invest. [3]

Cons

The primary arguments against this referendum are:

  • Maine already has $106,258,509 in outstanding bond debt that this will add to and it could lead to increased taxes. [4]

Who Cares

Nobody has registered support or opposition to this bond. [1]

Further Reading

Full Text

Ballotpedia Article

Portland Press Herald Article

References

[1] Ballotpedia State Desk. Maine Question 3, Transportation Bond Issue (2018).  Ballotpedia.  Accessed October 11, 2018.

[2] Maine State Legislature. L.D. 1815. Accessed October 11, 2018

[3] League of Women Voters. League of Women Voters, Maine 2018 General Election Voter Guide (2018). Accessed October 11, 2018.

[4] Dunlap, Matthew. Maine Citizen’s Guide to the Referendum Election. Accessed October 11, 2018.

[5] McGuire, Peter. Question 3 asks voters to approve $105 million bond for roads and bridges. Portland Press Herald. Accessed October 21, 2018.