In an era when governments and families alike are trying to reduce debt, it seems harder to make a case for issuing state bonds.

An aversion to borrowing, however, should not stop Mainers from approving four reasonable and affordable bond issues on the ballot this November.

These bonds would make much-needed investments in the state’s public higher education facilities, conservation of undeveloped land, highways, bridges, local roads and airports, as well as in public drinking water and sewage treatment facilities. And they represent a rare break from partisan bickering.

All were sent to Gov. Paul LePage with two-thirds support from the House and Senate, and all should win the approval of the voters on Nov. 6.

We urge a yes vote on Questions 2, 3, 4 and 5.

QUESTION 2: HIGHER ED

Question 2 would raise $11.3 million for improvements at the state’s university and community college campuses. These would not only create opportunities for more students to attend an institution of higher learning, but also would improve the kinds of programs the institutions offer, to better prepare young Mainers for jobs in this economy. Targeted projects include a biologically secure animal and plant diagnostic laboratory at the University of Maine in Orono.

The bond also would pay for the renovation and reuse of a building at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, which would be the hub of a new campus of Southern Maine Community College, directly integrated with the energy, aviation and engineering businesses that are moving to and growing at the former base.

The new satellite campus alone could someday serve 2,000 students.

QUESTION 3: LAND FOR MAINE’S FUTURE

A drive through any part of Maine gives evidence of the change in Maine’s land use. What were once vast tracts of forest owned by patient, private owners banking on tree growth has been subdivided with new owners looking for a faster payoff. Sprawling communities near population areas are spreading housing and commercial developments into what were once farms or deer wintering areas.

Since its inception, the Land for Maine’s Future Fund has been one of Maine’s most popular government programs. Working with willing sellers, the program acquires land or development rights, partnering with land trusts or philanthropists to make the fund deliver more conservation bang for the buck.

This particular $5 million bond was crafted to preserve deer yards and wildlife habitats, promoting hunting and fishing for Maine sportsmen and visitors — a benefit that really captures what this program is all about.

We should preserve our natural treasures because they are an essential part of what makes Maine what it is. Preserving wild places greatly benefits the people who live here and also provides a marketable asset for the tourism industry.

Maine should continue supporting this valuable program and vote yes on Question 3.

QUESTION 4: TRANSPORTATION

“You can’t get there from here” is supposed to be a joke. In Maine, it could be an accurate statement someday.

Maine’s roads and bridges are in poor shape and the state’s Department of Transportation budget, which draws on gas tax and general fund revenue, cannot meet our needs. That’s why we support a $51.5 million transportation bond.

All Mainers pay the price as roads deteriorate. It takes longer to get from point A to point B and it gets more expensive to maintain cars and trucks.

For a state that relies on moving forest products, agricultural produce and manufactured goods to market as well as welcoming tourists, a sound transportation system is essential.

Question 4 also would provide resources for airports, port facilities, rail access and transit buses. And it would attract $105.6 million in federal and other matching funds.

Maine’s transportation system is in bad shape. Mainers should back this bond.

QUESTION 5: CLEAN WATER

This bond would raise $7.9 million to create a revolving loan fund for municipal and regional drinking water and waste treatment facilities. Establishing this fund would make the state eligible for $40 million in federal grants.

That alone should be enough to attract most voters, but those who are concerned about the federal government overextending itself should consider this: Most of these projects are required by federal law. Washington should pay the bills.

What is not covered by federal grants will have to be paid by property taxes and ratepayers.

This is a responsible use of the state’s bonding authority and voters should say yes.