“This compromise agreement builds on my administration’s record investment in Maine’s roads and bridges and advances our work to reduce borrowing, create a sustainable, long-term source of funding for infrastructure repair, and unlock nearly a billion dollars in matching federal funding,” Mills said.
The bill creates a sustainable source of funding for the Highway Fund by dedicating 40% of the 5.5% sales tax on vehicle purchases and 40% of sales and use taxes collected by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. It is expected to generate more than $200 million for infrastructure repair per biennium.
“The need for sustainable, dedicated revenue for MaineDOT’s capital program has been a persistent challenge for decades, making long-term planning very challenging,” said Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) Commissioner Bruce Van Note. “This budget makes a huge stride toward fiscal sustainability for the Highway Fund."
It also builds on the governor’s historic investments to modernize Maine’s outdated infrastructure. The last biennial budget signed by the governor dedicated $135 million to MaineDOT for capital projects and stipulated that MaineDOT receive 20% of unappropriated surplus, which amounted to approximately $156 million – an unprecedented level of General Fund support of nearly $300 million.
The funds will allow MaineDOT to implement its three-year work plan, containing 302 bridge projects, 1,178 miles of preservation paving and more than 2,000 miles of light capital paving, 271 miles of highway construction and rehabilitation, and 264 highway safety and spot improvements.