Maine Trails, August - September '09
Inside Cover
President's Message
Cover Story
Bond Question
Questions of transportation
Silver bullet eludes transportation committee
Right brain, left brain
Fresh outlook
By the numbers

Guest Column

Transportation by the numbers

By Bruce A. Van Note, MaineDOT Deputy Commissioner
The mission of the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) is to responsibly provide a safe, efficient and reliable transportation system that supports economic opportunity and quality of life throughout the state. The economic challenges affecting all of us today are making it more difficult to get this critical job done. MaineDOT is not alone. DOT’s across the country are dealing with similar challenges. As always, MaineDOT will continue to do the best we can with what we have.
As we all prioritize to meet our transportation challenges ahead, some basic transportation-related numbers may provide a useful context. Of course, no list can be exhaustive. We welcome all requests for information. We believe the more you know about MaineDOT and transportation in Maine, the better. Feel free to contact us at
  • 42,400 The number of jobs, direct and indirect, supported by MaineDOT’s capital programs over the last five years.
  • 4 The number of months that it took MaineDOT to advertise 100 percent of the $130.7 million in highway and bridge formula funds contained in the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), sometimes known as the “stimulus package.” Maine is at or near the top of any list on transportation ARRA delivery.
  • 0 The amount of ARRA highway and bridge formula funds available to advertise projects in future years.
  • +60% The percentage increase in construction costs MaineDOT has experienced over the last five years.
  • +12% Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation over the last five years.
  • -6% The percentage decrease in MaineDOT’s state highway budget funding over the last five years.
  • 60% The percentage of all MaineDOT funding (including federal funds, bonding, etc.) that goes to private enterprise including contractors, consultants, and vendors.
  • 197 The number of MaineDOT positions eliminated over the last five years, accounting for a workforce reduction of almost 9 percent.
  • 53 The number of heavy trucks eliminated by MaineDOT over the last 5 years. (Replacement value: almost $7 million).
  • $282 The estimated annual maintenance costs per Maine motorist caused by bad roads, as estimated by the Maine Development Foundation.
  • $6 How much a Maine driver pays per penny of gas tax, based on an average annual miles driven of 15,000 in a vehicle that gets 25 miles per gallon.
  • 8,408 The number of centerline miles of highway for which MaineDOT has primary capital responsibility. The analogous number for New Hampshire is 3,990 miles, meaning MaineDOT has more than double its nearest neighbor’s miles to care for — or 110 percent more miles.
  • 13% How much more Maine receives in federal highway funds compared to New Hampshire.
  • 29.5 The Maine state gasoline tax per gallon (in cents). By way of comparison, the national average is 28.6 cents, the New England average is 27.1 cents, New Hampshire is 19.6 cents, Nova Scotia is 58.8 cents, Quebec is 57.6 cents, and Great Britain is $3.99.
  • 1993 The year the U.S. Congress last adjusted the federal gasoline tax. For the past 16 years, it has remained at 18.4 cents.
  • 0 The amount of additional revenue generated when pump prices rise, as the gasoline tax is assessed per gallon, and not the pump price.
  • 470,000 The number of passengers riding the Amtrak Downeaster over the last year, a 7 percent increase over the previous year.
  • 80 The number of transit buses that have reached the end of their estimated useful life out of a statewide fleet of 412.
  • 17 The number of feet of snow that fell in Caribou during the winter of 2007-08.
  • 110,000 The average number of tons of salt that MaineDOT uses each winter season.
  • 20 The number of national awards won by the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory.
  • 99.4% The percentage of days the Maine State Ferry System operated over the past five years.
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