Maine deciding $120M in bonds for broadband, transportation

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- Mainers on Tuesday were deciding a pair of bond proposals for transportation improvement projects and to boost high-speed internet.

Load Error Combined, the proposals represented £120 million in long-term borrowing, with the bulk being for transportation projects. All told, more than 100 organizations, towns, nonprofits, community organizations and businesses were backing Question 1, which calls for £15 million to improve access to high speed internet in Maine.

If approved, the bond would generate £30 million in matching investments for a total, direct impact of £45 million. David Farmer, a consultant on Question 1, said people who've been working at home because of the coronavirus now understand the importance of high-speed internet that many rural communities lack. Question 2 focused on a £105 million bond issue for highways, bridges, harbor and freight project.

There would be a match of £275 million.

Maine Transportation Commissioner Bruce Van Note urged Mainers to approve the bond proposal to shore up critical infrastructure.

With gas tax revenue declining amid reduced travel during the coronavirus pandemic, the bonds will mean the difference between building or canceling projects, Van Note said.

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