What the next governor (and legislature) should know about transportation in Maine
“We need to get our infrastructure in this state up to par. We will not be able to compete in the world economy if we don’t!”
Brian Bouchard, H.O. Bouchard
“First, we need to get our infrastructure in this state up to par. We will not be able to compete in the world economy if we don’t!
Second, we need to get our arms around manufacturing or this state will truly be only a place to vacation. Many of our businesses are considering moving out of the state of Maine to do business.
Third, we want to be business friendly but we only bark about it, never walk the talk! How serious are we to have commerce in Maine?
Fourth, remember what got us on the map and start working back to those days where farming and forestry along with manufacturing and fishing were the heart of our economy.
Finally, healthcare needs serious attention or we will not be able to afford that benefit any longer for our employees. Our little company spends $1 million for health insurance!”
“. . . in terms of the state’s economic development, we need to be a player in the freight area.”
David Cole, MaineDOT Commissioner
“My hope is that our next governor will expand on the work of our current governor in growing freight opportunities for Maine businesses. There is no question that from a competitive factor in terms of the state’s economic development, we need to be a player in the freight area. By strengthening our three-port strategy, we have managed to open up opportunities in our Maine ports. The state must continue to be aggressive in linking our ports to world markets. This will not only help our businesses, but it also benefits our regional railroads, which have limited capital. Bringing in more overhead traffic will help our rail system, while helping other businesses thrive. For example, if one of our ports brings in products from South America, those goods likely will have to be shipped on one of our railroads, so that even more businesses benefit from these imports. We need more critical mass and an integrated freight policy is key to tapping into world markets.
It is all about connections, and Maine is situated in a way to maximize and grow our links to world markets.”
“A strong transportation system is vital to moving products and people, to generating jobs, and to creating wealth. . . our next governor must understand its essentiality.”
Dana Connors, Maine State Chamber of Commerce
“I think in today’s economic struggles, in which we are trying desperately to regain the confidence of the consumers as well as the investor - in order to grow our economy - it is important to take nothing for granted. Our governor must know that the importance of transportation cannot be overstated; let’s not forget its importance while we search for a magical solution that may not exist.
Transportation is at a crossroads – and it is easy to put off the funding discussion, but every time we put it off, the costs climb, and the revenues decline. There are few – if any discussions more important at the state level, or the federal level.
A strong transportation system is vital to moving products and people, to generating jobs, and to creating wealth. It is critical to an economy on the move, and our next governor must understand its essentiality.”
“. . . that a structural gap of $3 billion seems insurmountable but isn’t, if you would make it a priority. . . the priority that it should be.”
Senator Dennis Damon, Co-Chair, Transportation Committee
“Governor, you need to understand how desperate our transportation infrastructure is in terms of its repair, or its building, and that a structural gap of $3 billion seems insurmountable but isn’t, if you would make it a priority. Not just a priority, but the priority that it should be. There are few programs or impacts that you can make that will positively move Maine forward greater than getting our transportation infrastructure to a reasonable and sustainable level.
It is vital for our health, our safety and our economic development and it has been ignored for too long.
When I say our transportation infrastructure, I am not just talking about road and bridges but our entire system: rail, marine, aviation, trails, everything. They all work together, and they all need to be enhanced.”
“. . . become familiar with the Highway Simplification Study.”
Gregory A. Dore, Maine Chapter-American Public Works Association
“I would like to urge the new governor to become familiar with the Highway Simplification Study. That will help him or her to better understand the need for increased funding in our transportation system. This study will also shed light on our need for the state, counties and municipalities to work together in order to become more efficient and cost-effective at maintaining our system.”
“Maine’s ports are a source of competitive advantage for Maine’s businesses. . .”
John Henshaw, Maine Port Authority
“Maine’s ports are a vital, strategic asset for the state of Maine. They are an integral part of its transportation infrastructure. More importantly, they are a source of competitive advantage for Maine’s businesses. Historically, the state’s ports have been a source of prosperity. Today, Maine’s ports provide direct access to overseas markets for Maine products. Maine forest products pass through the ports on their way to markets in Europe and Asia. Maine ports attract significant amounts of imports. It is likely that in the future, Maine’s ports will play an important role in the shipment of goods to domestic markets, as the need to find cost-effective modes of transportation is required to reduce highway congestion, to reduce harmful emissions, and to reduce maintenance requirements on our highways. Maine ports will play an even more vital role in the state’s economy into the future. We are privileged to count them as an asset.”
“. . . provide transportation people want enough to pay for through user fees. . .”
John Melrose, Maine Tomorrow
“Central to transportation funding is the need for policymakers to recommit to the principle of user financing. First, we need to provide transportation services that people want enough to pay for through user fees and not provide what they are unwilling to pay a fair price to use. Second, we must distribute federal and state transportation user fees consistent and proportionate to how our transportation system is used.”
“Keep pace with freight and passenger rail progress. . .”
Jack Sutton, MRG, Inc.
“Maine must keep pace with dynamic national trends in freight and passenger railroad progress, driven by transportation economics, development patterns and environmental realities.
Freight rail is fundamental to Maine’s industrial economy. It supports essential extractive, manufacturing and distribution industries and provides the infrastructural framework for passenger rail services. Private operators provide freight rail services, aided by targeted public assistance in the form of some branch line ownership, infrastructure upgrades, and support for customer and interline connectivity, through the Industrial Rail Access Program, state bonding and federal assistance.
Maine’s passenger rail future is anchored on reaching the full potential of Downeaster Portland-to-Boston service, and its forthcoming extension to Brunswick. Planning must embrace door-to-door aspects of passenger transportation, including regional development patterns, station locations with adequate parking, bus connections, taxis, bicycle and pedestrian connectivity.”