For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - Republican and Democratic legislative leadership and the Governor's Office reached a deal Friday afternoon on a bond bill that may be passed in time for inclusion on the November 2013 statewide ballot. Governor Paul LePage and Republican lawmakers conveyed to Democrats in meetings earlier this week that they would not be comfortable with a borrowing package in excess of $150 million and emphasized the need for any bond to be dedicated to the infrastructure needs of Maine's economy.
"What we have is the best of both worldsa bill that is bipartisan enough to garner the needed votes in the legislature while also meeting the needs of Maine's economy," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "This responsible bond package will make investments in the kind of infrastructure improvements that will help fuel our economy for years to come."
The bond bill, LD 1095, is an amended version of LePage's transportation bond proposal. It adds up to $149.5 million, including $76 million for highways and bridges, $24 million for port and rail improvements, $31 million for labs and facilities at Maine's public universities and community colleges, $14 million for Maine's National Guard armories, and $4.5 million for a new science facility at Maine Maritime Academy.
"The education funding is going largely toward science- and technology-related facilities improvements that will help prepare Maine's young people and workforce for the future while making Maine a more attractive place for industries that require a highly-skilled workforce," added Fredette. "I'm pleased that the additional transportation funding is going toward improving ports and highways so that Maine can better participate in regional and international commerce."
Fredette also expressed relief that both parties were able to find a mutually agreeable solution in time for action on the November ballot.
"The last thing we need is political stalemate at a time when Mainers need jobs and businesses expect results," he said. "It's very encouraging to be able to see this through in time for the November ballot."
Plans for enactment in a special session will be announced in the days to come.
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793