For Immediate Release: October 22, 2010
Contact: Maria Fuentes, 207-592-0227 or 207-622-0526
What Maine’s new governor, legislature should know about transportation
Group releases four-point ‘funding guidebook’ to address transportation shortfalls
Maine is in the midst of a transportation crisis - and we need strong leaders at the Blaine House and in the Maine Legislature to help address the state’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure. The Maine Better Transportation Association (MBTA) has prepared a four-point policy paper with recommendations it hopes will serve as a transportation funding guidebook for incoming elected officials.
“Maine’s Highway Fund faces a $720 million two-year structural gap, and it’s only going to get worse as vehicles become more fuel efficie nt and our backlog of deteriorating, outdated infrastructure grows,” said MBTA President Deborah Dunlap Avasthi. “In fact, estimates are that shortfall will grow to $3 billion over the next 10 years if we do not act now to fund improvements to our highways, bridges, rail, ports and transit systems.”
How the state can address the transportation funding shortfall in the face of increased fuel efficiency and falling fuel tax revenues, is the subject of an MBTA policy paper titled Transportation: The case for investment. The paper establishes four guiding principles to reverse decades of neglect and underfunding: advancing a user-funding model to prioritize and finance system improvements; addressing the backlog of failing and substandard infrastructure; targeting transportation investments to help Maine’s economy grow; and innovating to maximize the value of the state’s investments.
Authored by former MaineDOT Commissioner John Melrose, the policy piecealso outlines 26 specific recommendations for fixing Maine’s transportation system from raising and modernizing the fuel tax and leveraging public funding to encourage private investment to improving connections and reinvigorating the state’s three port strategy.
“Some of these recommendations are bound to spark debate, but the truth is, we need to rise above politics and act swiftly and responsibly because our future is at stake,” said Avasthi. “Most importantly, we want Maine’s leaders to know that we can do the right thing, just as our parents and grandparents did before us when they invested in the building of the interstate highway system.”
“These investments are so important to Maine,” said MBTA Executive Director Maria Fuentes. “Because without a safe, efficient transportation system, we are putting our families, our jobs and our economy at risk.”
Founded in 1939, the MBTA is a non-partisan voice for a safe, efficient transportation network for Maine. The organization has 700 members representing municipalities, businesses and individuals from all areas of the state.
To download the complete report or for more information, visit www.mbtaonline.org
or call 207-622-0526.