Something is happening in Augusta that should be of concern to all Maine motorists and businesses that rely on a safe and efficient highway system.

Our legislative leaders are recommending putting off any bond initiatives until 2014. The negative impact on Maine Department of Transportation’s construction programs cannot be overstated.

Cuts from the department already bare-bones work plan will be 35 percent to highway reconstruction, 26 percent to bridge work and 50 percent to the popular Municipal Partnership Initiative. These are significant cuts to critical programs that are already seriously under-funded. Scores of highway and bridge projects will have to be cut. What about jobs? Maine’s construction industry as a whole has lost 10,000 jobs during the recession, a 26 percent decline. The current Legislature was supposed to be all about jobs. A $100 million bond initiative would support 2,800 jobs — good start on those lost construction jobs. Reducing funding by $100 million could have an opposite and devastating effect.

I hope that anyone who reads this and drives a truck or car on Maine’s roads and over our bridges calls their legislator asking for a reversal of this unfortunate decision. The average vehicle owner already pays $300 per year in additional repairs because of bad roads. Reduced funding will only make that number larger.

Jay Tuthill, Vassalboro

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