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Coalition Provides Testimony In Support of Study on Transportation Funding Reform

By April 14, 2015State House Watch

Testimony in SUPPORT of LD 706 – Resolve, To Establish a Commission To Study Transportation Funding Reform

Abby King, Advocacy Coordinator

Bicycle Coalition of Maine

April 14, 2015

Good Afternoon Chairman Collins, Chairman McLean, and Members of the Committee. My name is Abby King and I am here on behalf of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and our 5,000 members. We work to make Maine better for biking and walking through education and outreach, events and encouragement, and advocacy. I urge you to vote in SUPPORT of LD 706.
The lack of adequate transportation funding in Maine affects all users of the roads. We often think of this problem only in terms of its impact on car and truck traffic, but all types of users are affected by roads that need to be maintained or redesigned. People walking and biking are often at extra risk of being injured or killed in a crash due to roads that don’t take their needs into consideration. A study commission transportation for funding reform will bring forward solutions that will allow our road network to better serve the needs of all Mainers – not just those in cars.
We hear a lot about the need for additional funding to make sure highway and bridges are repaired and improved. We also know that Maine’s supply of funds for stand-alone bicycle and pedestrian transportation infrastructure – projects like sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, paved shoulders, and multi-use paths – is wholly inadequate to meet the growing demand across the state. Each year, MaineDOT can only meet, at most, 10% of the demand for stand-alone bike/ped infrastructure projects. In 2012, 92 communities applied for a competitive grant under the Transportation Alternatives program. Those 92 proposed projects totaled $45 million. Yet MaineDOT receives only $4.5 million every two years in federal funds for these types of infrastructure projects.
Lawmakers in states across the country are putting politics aside and figuring out how to pay for the upkeep of deteriorating and underserving infrastructure. We can work together here in Maine to come up with new revenue streams and restructured policies that will help balance transportation funding shortfalls. As we study best practices we’ll need to make sure the voices of all road users are represented. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is committed to helping. I urge you to support LD 706 so that the best minds in Maine transportation can come together to do their homework and bring viable solutions back to this committee.
Thank you for your time and I would be glad to answer any questions.