(Aug 2013 Review) Governor LePage (Video): Support of the Transportation Bond Supports Economic Stability and Jobs
(Originally posted 12 Aug 2013) Here we go again- Governor LePage is gonna get all bothered if he doesn’t get his way! Check out the latest “Blusta Outta Augusta”…
Governor LePage: Support of the Transportation Bond Supports Economic Stability and Jobs
The growing debate over whether the Legislature should move quickly to pass a transportation bond comes down to one thing – jobs.
As your Governor, I want Mainers to have good-paying jobs, and I want businesses to have the support to expand in our great State.
As lawmakers examine nearly a billion dollars of bond projects, our Administration is asking for just one bond to go to voters this November.
Our Administration, in March, proposed a $100 million transportation bond, which allows the Maine Department of Transportation to plan projects for the next three years.
It provides $81 million for improvement to highways and bridges, and it provides job stability to those in the construction industry, where more than 8,000 jobs have been lost since 2006.
We designate another $19 million for improvements to multimodal facilities that would support projects, such as major development on the Portland waterfront, as well as preserving rail connections for Maine businesses.
Our roads and ports continue to be a focus of economic opportunity that helps create jobs. But the federal government has flat funded transportation projects, and vehicles that are more fuel-efficient are generating less revenue in fuel taxes. With those decreases in revenue, this bond is needed now.
Even with the approval of $100 million bond, Maine’s highway and bridge programs are still facing a funding shortfall.
Democratic leadership so far has failed to act, and timing is critical. The Secretary of State’s Office needs bonds approved for the November ballot by the middle of August. The early deadline ensures our military troops overseas receive an opportunity to vote – surely a right our uniformed men and women deserve.
With strong bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans alike, there should be no hold up on this transportation bond. There will be time in January to continue the bond debate for other projects.
Once again, we are at a crossroads. Democrats have a choice. They can do the right thing by supporting economic development and jobs or they can delay again.
The time to act is now and Mainers are depending on us.
Someone ought to tell the Governor to wait a second- he’s not fooling ANYONE. Back when he first proposed his transportation bond package, folks could smell a rat- and LePage admitted himself who that rat was:
During a State House news conference Thursday morning, LePage admitted that he’s holding $105 million in bonds already approved by voters “hostage” to his hospital debt proposal. Those bonds include $51.5 million for transportation projects.
“I’ll admit it. It’s the only way I can get anything done upstairs, is, you’ve got to threaten them,” LePage said. “They won’t get it done unless I force it. If I release those bonds today, the hospitals won’t get paid this year, and that’s a fact.”
Why, it’s as if LePage forgot when he all but told Skowhegan and House Asst Majority Leader Rep. Jeff McCabe to, as Gerald at Dirigo Blue put it, “go pound sand”… while helping Livermore Falls.
But McCabe has had the Governor’s number for years…
“I represent Skowhegan in the Maine Legislature. Our community was slated to receive 400,000 dollars thanks to a downtown improvement program funded by the bond package voters passed in 2009.
Voters knew that it’s a good time to make these strategic investments. Interest rates are low, Maine is in good shape to bond, and the program supports local jobs and helps communities improve their downtowns, where local businesses thrive.
Skowhegan’s plan was approved. The town signed contracts with the state, hired engineers and started renovations. We have spent nearly 40,000 dollars, and local businesses have raised more than half a million dollars to match the grant.
So you can imagine our shock when Governor LePage went back on the state’s promise to help us fund our project on schedule. He told us that he’s holding the money, and he can stall on issuing the bonds for as long as five years if he wants to.
Nearly a dozen other towns, like Eastport, Monmouth, Rockland and Winthrop all qualified for funds to redevelop their downtowns and create new local jobs. We were all ready to go, and we all got the same message from Governor LePage – we’ll get the money when he feels like it.”