The Appropriations Committee is currently looking at 30 bonds to issue. A number of them focus on transportation. LD 16 asks for $100 million for transportation infrastructure including $5 million for bike/ped projects. One other proposed bond specifies funding for bike/ped, but only $1.5 million. None of the others mention bike/ped. All the transportation bonds will most likely be combined into one bond and we want to ensure that 5% of the total amount to be dedicated for bike/ped projects.
WHY do we need a bond to fund bike/ped projects?
Last spring (2012), when the MDOT opened the biennial Quality Communities Program (QCP), which funnels federal funding for biking or walking projects to Maine towns, 92 communities applied for funding, for projects adding up to $45 million.
In June 2012, Congress finally passed the federal transportation re-authorization. This law cut dedicated funding for walking and biking projects in Maine by 47%. The result is that the MDOT has only $6.6 million in 2013-14 to fund the QCP projects. Because of a huge backlog that already existed, all of the funding for the 2012 Quality Community Program will be used for construction of previously approved projects that have completed preliminary design. That means that NONE of the 92 towns that submitted applications will be funded this cycle.
Clearly, we need another source of funds to support this demand and this is why dedicated funding for walking and biking projects is essential.
Need more reasons to support this bond? The folks at the Maine Better Transportation Association shared this:
- MaineDOT will have to cut projects from Its work plan without a bond
- We need a bond to help fIx our brIdges
- MaIne needs the Jobs
- WIthout a bond, MaineDOT’s projected annuaL shortfall grows by $50 million
- Critical projects that are brIngIng new busIness to Maine will be put on the back burner
- Our towns and cities will come up short
Take Action Now!
- Call your legislator! Phone call is best, even if you have to leave a voicemail. Paper letter is next best. Email is ok but the legislator may never get to it.
- You can find out your legislator and their contact info here. Enter your town, street number and street name. Click the “Submit” button. At the next screen, click the “Elected Officials” tab and scroll down to “Maine Senate” and Maine House of Representatives”.
- Ask them to include dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in the new transportation bond!
- If your legislator is on the Appropriations Committee, it’s even more important to call them–they have extra power in the bond decisions. If your legislators aren’t on the committee, but you like making these calls, please call the chairs of the committee (Dawn Hill, York; Peggy Rotundo, Lewiston).
Please share this extra information with your friends. Again, the more calls, the more likely the final version of the bond will specify dedicated funding for bike/ped.