The gist

Passing this question would allow the state to borrow $105 million, matched by $137 million in federal funds, for transportation improvements. This is the third of 3 consecutive years of transportation bonds that will fill a shortfall in the highway fund.1

Ballot question

“Do you favor a $105,000,000 bond issue to build or improve roads, bridges, railroads, airports, transit and ports and make other transportation investments, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds?”1

Yes means No means
I am in favor of issuing the $105 million bond to address infrastructure improvements. I do not want Maine to borrow $105 million to address infrastructure improvements.

Tell me more

Passing this question would allow the State of Maine to borrow $105 million for a variety of infrastructure improvements, including roads, bridges, railroads, airports, transit and ports.2 The bulk of the money will go towards high priority highways and bridges. See the Ballotpedia Article3 for definitions of road priority levels.

This is a bond issue – if voters approve the bond, it means that the State of Maine is allowed to borrow money for the project described in the ballot question and has to pay it back over 10 years. Learn more about how bonds work.

Follow the money

Principal: $105,000,000
Interest: $28,875,000 (assumes 5.0% over 10 years)
Total cost: $133,875,0002

The money will be used to:

  • $85 million for high priority highways and bridges 2
  • $15 million for projects that “preserve public safety or otherwise have demonstrated high transportation value” for things like ports, railroads, airports, bicycle, and walking trails2
  • $4 million to fund a Department of Environmental Protection grant program for upgrading fish and wildlife habitats2
  • $1 million for improving a wharf at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute2

The money will be coming from:

  • $105 million bond issued by the state and paid back through the budget and taxes over 10 years.2
  • $137 million in matching funds from federal and local governments2
    • The federal government will match funds for highway and bridge projects at a ratio of 1.1 federal dollar to 1 state dollar.2
    • Municipalities will be required to match 50% or more of project costs2.

Pros

The primary arguments for this referendum are:

  • Maine’s roads and infrastructure are deteriorating.
  • Makes up for some of the shortfall in gas taxes from fuel-efficient vehicles that has left the funds for highway repairs insufficient.
  • Issuing the bond opens up matching funds.
  • Interest rates are currently low, making it a good time to invest.

Cons

The primary arguments against this referendum are:

  • Maine already has $653,433,911 in outstanding bond debt that this will add to and it could lead to increased taxes.2

Who cares

Nobody has registered support or opposition to this bond.2

Further reading

Full text
Ballotpedia article

References

  1. Maine State Legislature. H.P. 1049 - L.D. 1437. Accessed September 16, 2019.  2

  2. Dunlap, Matthew. Maine Citizen’s Guide to the Referendum Election. Accessed September 16, 2019.  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

  3. Ballotpedia State Desk. Maine Transportation Infrastructure Bond Issue (2019). Ballotpedia. Accessed September 16, 2019.