This Act would authorize the State to issue bonds in an amount not to exceed fifty-one million five hundred thousand dollars ($51,500,000), to raise funds for a variety of projects as described below. The bonds would run for a period not longer than 10 years from the date of issue and would be backed by the full faith and credit of the State.
Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be administered by the Department of Transportation for the following purposes:
Highways and bridges Forty-one million dollars ($41,000,000) would be expended to repair and reconstruct highways and bridges deemed vital to expansion of business interests and essential to public safety. It is anticipated that this would make the State eligible for at least seventy-two million dollars ($72,000,000) in federal matching funds. The Act requires the Department of Transportation to consult with the business and economic development sector in order to determine projects of the highest priority to that sector. In addition, a stakeholder group of municipal officials, highway safety officials and members of the general public must be formed to develop a priority list of highway and bridge projects to address the safety of the general public. A recent amendment to existing law (Title 23, section 73, subsection 7, as enacted by Public Laws of 2011, chapter 610, section B-2, effective Aug. 30, 2012) also provides a system by which the Department is required to establish priorities, customer service levels and goals for capital improvements to the States public highways.
Medical helicopter service Three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) would be provided to the LifeFlight Foundation to install a network of automated weather observation stations as well as to construct helicopter landing pads located in remote areas and in rural communities with high levels of usage. These funds would be matched by three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) in funding from local governmental sources. LifeFlight provides a medical helicopter service that transports critically ill and injured patients to hospitals statewide.
Port facilities Three million dollars ($3,000,000) would be spent to dredge the commercial shipping channel in Searsport, which serves the existing port operation at Mack Point. It is expected that this funding would make the state eligible for ten million dollars ($10,000,000) in federal funds through the Army Corps of Engineers.
An additional two million dollars ($2,000,000) would support the purchase of material handling equipment for use at Mack Point. This funding would be matched by an equivalent amount of investment by private entities.
Another one and a half million dollars ($1,500,000) in bond proceeds would be used for construction of warehouse facilities at the port of Eastport, which is owned and operated by the Eastport Port Authority.
Bus service One million dollars ($1,000,000) would be used to help purchase new transit buses operated by governmental entities located across the state. It is expected that these funds would secure approximately $9,000,000 in federal funding through the Federal Transit Administration.
Industrial rail service One and a half million dollars ($1,500,000) would support the Industrial Rail Access Program, which is an existing program of the Department that provides 50% matching grants to private businesses for improvements necessary to increase freight transportation by rail. Because these are matching grants, this funding would trigger an additional one and a half million dollars ($1,500,000) in private investment.
Aviation facilities One million two hundred thousand dollars ($1,200,000) would support projects at publicly-owned aviation facilities across the state. This funding is expected to be matched by ten million eight hundred thousand dollars ($10,800,000) in federal funds administered by the Federal Aviation Administration.
If approved, the authorization of these bonds would take effect 30 days after the Governors proclamation of the vote.
A "YES" vote favors the issuance of up to fifty-one million five hundred thousand dollars ($51,500,000) in general obligation bonds to finance the projects described above.
A "NO" vote opposes the bond issue in its entirety.
Do you favor a $51,500,000 bond issue for improvements to highways and bridges, local roads, airports and port facilities, as well as for funds for rail access, transit buses and the LifeFlight Foundation, which will make the State eligible for at least $105,600,000 in federal and other matching funds?