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Source : Wikimedia commons
February 4, 2023
Author : Patty Allen
Highways, roads, and ferry systems in Maine will be getting a fresh lease on life, thanks to the state's Department of Transportation.
$3.94 billion will be invested in total.
This funding will be used over the next three years for capital projects and programs, to maintain and operate state highways, planning initiatives, and various administrative programs.
The American Society of Civil Engineers' most recent Maine Infrastructure Report Card assigned Maine's state roads a D grade.
This Work Plan details all the work the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) and its transportation partners have planned for the calendar years 2023, 2024, and 2025. This year's Work Plan includes 2,599 work items totaling $3.94 billion. It also includes funds to be spent by transportation partners that get direct government funding, such as airports and transit agencies.
According to Bruce Van Note, commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation, "strong support for infrastructure at both the federal and state levels gives us reasons to be optimistic about the future of transportation in Maine."
If the state’s requirements are taken into consideration while setting goals, expenses are optimized, and the necessary funds are raised to match available federal funding, the state can achieve its objectives.
According to the announcement, the multi-year strategy was developed in response to a unique collection of difficulties and opportunities, the most significant of which was structural. Due to the geology and weather issues provided by an aging and rural population, the state employs a multimodal transportation system.
"For many years, the Maine DOT was stuck in what I call 'MacGyver' mode, which is more defense and doing your best to patch things up and take care of what you have," Commissioner Bruce Van Note explained. "In recent plans, we've shifted to offense. We've shifted from making do to making pragmatic progress."
The plan allotted $2.2 billion to highway and bridge capital projects. This includes 302 projects for bridges that will cost $706 million. It would use $575 million to keep 1178 miles of roads in good shape and pave them and $475 million to construct and help fix 271 miles of roads.
$190 million will be spent on 264 highway safety and spot improvements, and $116 million will be spent on Light Capital Paving on 2,073 miles.
The plan also calls for 75 miles of rail on CSX's Waterville-Mattawamkeag Line to be replaced. This will make it possible for heavier freight cars to go faster. The cost of that project is $42.5 million. A new hybrid electric ship will be built for the Maine State Ferry Service to Lincolnville and Islesboro for $35 million.
The $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Bill is a major contributor which will help to tide the rise in project costs due to an increase in inflation. Federal financing is anticipated to be $1,745 million, accounting for approximately 44 percent of the total value of Work Plan items. This includes $1,555 million for MaineDOT and $191 million for other transportation partners, such as airports and transit agencies, to receive directly.
Maria Fuentes, executive director of the Maine Better Transportation Association, explained that, “The team at MaineDOT is skilled at both responding to challenges and embracing opportunities both of those qualities are evident in this Work Plan”.