Investment bonds, will grow jobs and Maine’s future


By Admin

May 23rd, 2010 

Radio address by Gov. John Baldacci

The Portland Pier could birth larger cruze ships with a bond investment, which would bring in revenues to businesses in Portland.
The Portland Pier could birth larger cruze ships with a bond investment, which would bring in revenues to businesses in Portland.
“Maine voters will go to the polls on June 8th and face several important questions. Democrats and Republicans will be asked to pick their party’s candidate for governor in November. But all voters have a chance to let their voices be heard on five important questions. How they vote will have a lasting impact on Maine’s economy. Maine voters are being asked to approve four bond questions that will make critical investments in our State and create new jobs.To make it to the ballot, these questions had to win overwhelmingly bipartisan support in the Legislature.

During difficult negotiations, Democrats and Republicans worked together to build an investment package they could both support.
We put partisanship aside and compromised on a plan that put common-sense solutions ahead of short-term political gain. It wasn’t easy, but the end product is something that deserves voter support.

We’re beginning to see signs that Maine’s economy is recovering from the national recession.But the recovery remains fragile and uncertain. By making important investments now, we can help the private sector create good-paying jobs, improve vital transportation links and increase economic development. Unemployment remains too high.

And we have a chance to do something about it on June 8th.

We shouldn’t miss the opportunity.

The investments are broken into four categories.

Question 2 on the ballot asks voters to approve $26.5 million to invest in developing offshore wind technology in our State. The investment will help to leverage almost $25 million. This combined investment will help to build a new industry in Maine, creating jobs and helping to secure our energy future. The resources also invest in the University of Maine, the Community College System and Maine Maritime Academy, to help them be more energy efficient. It’s critical that Maine breaks its dependency on costly foreign oil. Question 2 will do that and help our State maintain its leadership position in the development of alternative sources of energy.

Question 3 is about jobs today and jobs tomorrow. It asks voters to approve $47.8 million for critical highway, railway and port improvements. The question includes funding for a new deep-water port in Portland that will provide an economic boost to the entire State. Drawing more tourists to Maine and expanding Portland’s ability to attract ships.

The MMA railroad serves Old Town Fuel & Fiber, which may have to cut back if they don't have the rail access
The MMA railroad serves Old Town Fuel & Fiber, which may have to cut back if they don't have the rail access
The question will also help us to save rail service in Aroostook County. The railroad that connects Aroostook County to the rest of the State is about to be lost. Intervention is necessary. Or our entire State will pay a terrible price. The railroad connects 22 major shippers in Aroostook to customers in Maine and around the world.The rail line is critical to Maine’s manufacturing industries. Rail is the most cost effective and environmentally sound way to move wood and finished forest products to market. Without the rail link, it’s estimated that an additional 30,000 trucks will be put on Maine roads and shipping costs could increase by 30 percent.No business can afford that cost hike, especially in this difficult economy.If approved, the question will also expand rail service in Lewiston and Auburn and in Western Maine.

And the question will make significant investments in roads around our State. Our roads link our communities together. They enhance commerce, and lead to economic growth and opportunity. Now is the time to invest in making them better and safer.

Question 4 asks voters to invest almost $24 million in economic development.

This question will support small businesses, farmers, fishermen and loggers.It will save historic properties. And it will help us redevelop the Brunswick Naval Air Station. The federal government made a terrible mistake when it decided to close the naval air station. But their mistake is our opportunity. And with Question 4, we can help to ensure Mid-Coast Maine comes back stronger than ever.

Question 5 will invest about $10 million to make our drinking water cleaner and safer.

This investment immediately creates jobs and will be matched by more than $33 million. Water projects funded by this question not only protect our drinking water, but they put people to work almost immediately. If approved, these investments will create jobs today and for tomorrow. Now, I understand the reluctance by some folks to borrow. But Maine is very conservative with bonding. We pay our debts in less than half of the time of most states – 10 years instead of the traditional 20 years.

So we have an opportunity to put people back to work. The plan is focused, bipartisan and responsible.

And it will create jobs.

So on June 8th, we can give our economy a boost, help Maine small businesses, and take an important step forward, safeguarding our economy and our energy independence. I hope you will vote “yes” for jobs.”