The Maine Department of Transportation’s Main Street project is a bad deal for Wiscasset taxpayers. Route 1 is a federal-aid primary highway that the state of Maine is responsible for maintaining, including signal lights, and the state can get federal assistance to do this. Local taxpayers should not shoulder maintenance costs for this big, overly elaborate project.

Last spring, we were enticed to a straw vote by some pretty pictures showing fancy landscaping, café tables and chairs, benches, and a clock — only to discover that Wiscasset would have to pay for all the ongoing maintenance, including plowing and even signal lights. Some in the know calculate that this will cost Wiscasset about $50,000 a year. We’re already struggling with the cost of maintaining town infrastructure — we can’t even keep our existing town clock on Fort Hill working.

Yes, the DOT should do something to help alleviate traffic congestion on Main Street. They’ve said they are going to put signal lights at Middle and Water streets, with “bump outs” for quicker, safer pedestrian crossing. OK, let’s give those a try — on the DOT’s dime. Let’s not commit to a $5 million plan, the maintenance of which will add to the burden of Wiscasset taxpayers.

The selectmen should not sign the municipal/state agreement for this project. Townspeople deserve a full understanding of the ongoing costs to them. Come speak your mind at the special selectmen’s meeting devoted entirely to this issue at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the Wiscasset Community Center.

Seaver Leslie


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