Maine Transportation Improvements, Question 6 (2009)

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The Maine Transportation Improvements Bond Issue, also known as Question 6, was on the November 3, 2009 ballot in Maine as a legislatively-referred bond question, where it was approved. The measure issued $71,250,000 in bonds for transportation programs and projects. The bonds, in turn, would make the state eligible for more than $148 million in federal funds.[1][2]

The bill was proposed by Gov. John Baldacci and sponsored by House Majority Speaker Hannah Pingree. The House and the Senate both passed the bill on June 13, 2009. Shortly thereafter, the bill was signed by the governor. However, the bill had to be enacted by the voters.[3]

Election results

Maine Question 6 (2009)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 363,537 65.35%
No192,78934.65%

Election results via: Maine Secretary of State, Elections Division, Referendum Election Tabulations, November 3, 2009

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[1]

ME2009Nov Question 6 SB.PNG [4]

Summary

The following description of the intent and content of this ballot measure was provided in the Maine Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election:

This Act would authorize the State to issue bonds in an amount not to exceed $71,250,000 to raise funds for a variety of projects, as described below. The bonds would run for a period not longer than 10 years from the date of issue and would be backed by the full faith and credit of the State. Fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) of the bond proceeds would be placed in the Highway Fund and the remainder would be in the General Fund.

The Department of Transportation would expend $69,750,000 of the bond proceeds for the following types of projects:
$55,000,000 for highway and bridge improvement projects statewide;
$ 5,750,000 for improvements to the ports at Eastport and Searsport;
$ 4,000,000 for improvements to state-owned rail lines and investments in the Industrial Rail
Access Program and the Critical Rail Corridors Program;
$ 2,000,000 for improvements to publicly owned airports;
$ 1,000,000 for ferry facilities;
$ 1,000,000 for the LifeFlight Foundation, a non-profit foundation that supports a statewide medical helicopter service used to transport critically ill and injured patients to hospitals;
$ 400,000 to continue development of the Acadia Gateway Intermodal Center in Trenton;
$ 400,000 for improvements to island airports; and
$ 200,000 for upgrades to the Augusta airport.

The Department of Economic and Community Development would expend the remaining $1,500,000 of the proceeds of sale of the bonds to rebuild a bulkhead and wharf at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland.

If approved, the bond authorization would take effect 30 days after the Governor’s proclamation of the vote.

A statement of the Treasurer describing the financial considerations of this bond issue is published together with this statement.

A “YES” vote favors authorizing the $71,250,000 bond issue to finance all of the above activities.

A “NO” vote opposes the bond issue in its entirety. [4]

Office of the Attorney General, [1]

Maine November 3, 2009 Sample Ballot

Fiscal note

The following debt service was described in the Maine Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election:

Total estimated life time cost is $90,843,750 representing $71,250,000 in principal and $19,593,750 in interest (assuming interest at 5% over 10 years). [4]

Office of the Treasurer, [1]

The following fiscal impact statement was provided in the Maine Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election:

This bond issue has no significant fiscal impact other than the debt service costs identified above. [4]

—Office of Fiscal and Program Review, [1]

Campaign contributions

No support or opposition groups registered with the state ethics commission to raise or spend money for the measure.[5][6]

Media editorial positions

Main article: Endorsements of Maine ballot measures, 2009

Support

  • The Bangor Daily News said,

It may seem counterintuitive, but borrowing and spending money — especially on infrastructure — makes more sense during a recession than during boom times. Interest rates are low and the spending can create jobs here in Maine. And most compelling is that the physical improvements made by the bond funding serve as the nuts and bolts of a growing economy. That is why voters should support Question 6, a state bond that will fund projects around the state that affect most, if not all, residents. [4]

—Bangor Daily News, [7]

  • The Sun Journal said,

None of what's proposed is particularly controversial, and most would trigger matching funds from private and public sources. The list of projects is a mix of the absolutely necessary — $55 million for roads and bridges, for example — and the sensibly discretionary, like installing a bulk cargo handling system at the port of Eastport and deepening the channel to Mack Point in Searsport. [4]

—Editorial Board, [8]

  • The Seacoast Media Group said,

This one is a no-brainer. The state's roads and bridges are in deplorable condition, and the Legislature cut its funding to the Department of Transportation earlier this year. The DOT needs this money if the state's decaying infrastructure is not to fall into even further disrepair. It is a necessary investment in Maine. Moreover, it leverages $148 million in federal and other funds. Vote YES on Question 6. [4]

—Seacoast Media Group, [9]

See also

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External links

Additional reading

References