AUGUSTA — The Legislature voted Friday to send two bond packages to the voters seeking authorization for $150 million to pay for transportation projects as well as research and development initiatives.

The transportation and R&D bonds were the only measures to survive among the dozens of state-borrowing proposals submitted by lawmakers. The bills now head to Gov. Paul LePage for consideration, although both measures passed the Legislature by veto-proof margins.

If finally approved, the $100 million transportation bond proposal will appear on the November ballot while the proposed $50 million R&D bond package will go to voters in June 2017.

LePage introduced the $100 million transportation bond, L.D. 1694, earlier this year in order to help fund the Maine Department of Transportation’s work plan for 2016 through 2018. According to testimony submitted by the department to the Legislature, the $100 million bond would be used to finance:

• $80 million for highway and bridge construction, reconstruction or rehabilitation, $52 million of which would flow toward bridge projects.

• $20 million for improvements to ports, harbors, railroads, airports, bicycle-pedestrian paths and transit facilities.


The transportation bond proposal passed the House on a 138-4 vote and the Senate on a vote of 32-2.

The R&D bond proposal, L.D. 1053, would provide $45 million to the Maine Technology Institute as well as $5 million to the Maine Small Enterprise Growth Fund. The funds would be used to help R&D firms within the state to invest in infrastructure, equipment and technology upgrades.

Past R&D bonds have been used by companies such as The Jackson Laboratory and MDI Biological Laboratory to build facilities that allow them to expand their research programs.

The House approved the R&D bond on a vote of 134-10 while the Senate voted 28-4.

“Investing in these two critical areas will make Maine more competitive,” Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond, D-Portland, said in a statement. “There are many ways we could have chosen to invest in our state, but these two areas are among the most critical toward helping Mainers prosper.”

According to the fiscal notes attached to the bills, the anticipated interest paid out by the state over the life of the bonds – assuming a 4 percent or 4.5 percent interest rate, depending on the type of bond issue – would be roughly $34.9 million.


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