AUGUSTA — Work on a package of bills that would ask Maine voters to approve $200 million in new state debt to fix roads and bridges, renovate state university and community college classrooms and labs, and help cities and towns improve their wastewater treatment facilities will continue next week.

To be approved, each of the three borrowing packages needs two-thirds support in both houses of the Maine Legislature.

The measures would also need approval by voters during the next statewide election in November.

More than half of the total, or $106 million, would allow the Maine Department of Transportation to continue its ongoing work list, which includes rebuilding roads and bridges in 2019.

The funding, if approved, would also be used to leverage federal matching highway funds. State officials have said they need to apply for those funds by the end of the current fiscal year on June 30.

Votes on the bills could come as early as Thursday as lawmakers continue into the third day of a special legislative session meant to finish work left undone when they adjourned in May.

The regular sessions ended in gridlock over a proposed rollback of a voter-approved minimum wage increase and disagreement over funding another voter-approved law that expands the state’s Medicaid system, or MaineCare, to an additional 70,000 low-income individuals.

Advocates for the borrowing measures have urged lawmakers to move quickly, noting the impact includes sustaining an estimated 3,800 jobs in the state’s building and construction trades.

Earlier in June, a coalition of 126 organizations representing business, education and environmental interests rallied at the State House asking for the Legislature to move forward with the borrowing bills.

All of the measures would also leverage additional municipal, federal or private funding, making their total value even greater, advocates said.

Maine voters typically give strong support to borrowing bills, which are viewed as important to building and sustaining infrastructure important to the economy or the environment.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 713-6720 or at:

[email protected]

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