Today, Governor Paul LePage signed legislation instructing the Maine Department of Transportation to undertake a feasibility study on a proposed 220 mile east -- west highway in northern Maine. The study will help gauge interest in the private sector on the willingness to invest in this project.
"This is another example of moving Maine forward, putting people to work with innovative ways of financing, through public and private partnerships." said Governor LePage.
If the highway is built, the legislation mandates developers to repay the $300,000 in state money required to complete this study. The MaineDOT mission includes supporting economic opportunity by strategically targeting transportation investments that will help grow Maine's economy. MaineDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt added, "With the improvements to our border crossings with Canada and continuous improvements to the ports of Searsport and Eastport, it's important for the economy of Maine that we improve our east-west highway connections. I am very pleased with this step taken today, as we look toward the future of transportation planning and financing."
Members of the Transportation Committee, including Senator Doug Thomas of Ripley, joined the Governor in the Cabinet Room to celebrate the signing. "This road will connect Central Maine with millions of new customers and improve our economy," said Sen. Thomas, the measure's sponsor, "after decades of business closings and layoffs, let's hope this is a beginning of a more prosperous Maine."