Proposal aims to grow Maine’s economy, develop a strong, skilled workforce, repair Maine’s aging infrastructure, and usher in clean, renewable energy
Flanked by Cabinet members and Maine State Treasurer Henry Beck, Governor Janet Mills today unveiled her Administration’s 2019 bond package, which is comprised of a series of targeted investments to expand Maine’s economy, build a strong, skilled workforce, repair Maine’s aging infrastructure, and usher in clean, renewable energy.
“This bond package proposes reasonable targeted investments to address critical challenges,” said Governor Mills. “With these investments, Maine will expand broadband to more rural areas, build a more skilled workforce, repair our roads and bridges, and welcome clean energy projects to create jobs and fight climate change. Along with the proposed budget, this investment strategy will tackle our challenges head on, continuing to diversify our economy and make Maine the best place in the nation to live, work, and raise a family.”
The investment of $239 million over the next few years tackles Maine’s most pressing issues, such as lack of adequate broadband service and the labor shortage, by proposing funding in four key areas:
- Economic Development: The proposal invests a total of $50 million in expanding access to broadband across the state, in supporting research and development to spur innovation and diversify the economy, and in bolstering fishing and farming infrastructure to further support these industries.
- Workforce Development: The proposal invests $19 million to expand education and training in the trades, to bolster career and technical education, and to increase access to quality child care services, the lack of which holds many people back from entering the workforce.
- Environmental Protection & Clean Energy Development: The proposal invests $65 million to replenish the Land for Maine’s Future program, to improve wastewater treatment, and to usher in renewable energy projects at the municipal level.
- Rebuild Transportation Infrastructure: The proposal invests $105 million for roads, bridges, ports, rail, and air transportation, as well as the restoration of a commercial fishing wharf to support research in the Gulf of Maine and marine-based jobs.
Under the proposal, the first part of the bond package -- $105 million in transportation funding, $65 million in funding to support the environment and clean energy, and $20 million in economic development funding – would be put to voters for their approval in November 2019. The Legislature must consider and approve the bond package prior to voters’ consideration.
The unveiling today follows an announcement by State Treasurer Henry Beck last week that Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings (S&P), providers of global credit benchmarks, have affirmed their credit ratings and outlooks on the State of Maine’s general obligation debt. Moody’s affirmed both their ‘Aa2’ rating and stable outlook on Maine’s debt. S&P affirmed their ‘AA’ rating and stable outlook.
For more information on each of the proposals, please see the attached document.