7.23.2022 – Another article about Orono’s failing bridges.
12.6% of Maine’s bridges are structurally deficient – why does the DOT continue to spend our limited transportation funds on new projects when there are so many existing unmet transportation needs in our state?
7.20.2022 – Recent articles from the Portland Herald and the Bangor Daily News with a common thread – we have no money…
7.30.2021 – Portland Press Herald reports that the DOT has had to cancel 17% of its projects so far this year because of higher construction costs and the lack of money. What the hell do you expect when they foolishly spend money that they don’t have? Example: The Wilson Street Bridge in Brewer will be open next week after spending in access of $10 million; this was one of the better and newer bridges in Maine’s inventory and only changed to support the new 2B-2/connector project – another waste of money at a projected cost of $104 million.
7.22.2021 – Article from the BDN website concerning mitigation for this project. Good article, but many questions still remain unanswered:
What will this mitigation cost Maine taxpayers?
Am I the only one that finds this selection more than curious?
Who will profit from this mitigation?
Why don’t they mitigate adjacent to the original project mitigation?
I can answer that because I have raised it several times since early 2012; the maps that the MaineDOT still use show a definite area around the end of the connector that is labeled as “I-395 PROTECTED WETLANDS” and the DOT is blasting right thru it!! This map was downloaded on 7.21.2021!! The DOT conveniently cannot find any history of this previous mitigation – yet – this didn’t just happen – someone thought it did enough to update official state mapping. This was the reason 2B was originally cancelled at the start of the study. Don’t believe what you see with your eyes – the DOT will tell you what to believe!!
2.05.2021 – Article from the Portland Press Herald:
1.25.2021 – The BDN reports that the connector is the most expensive project in the work plan and will start in September:
1.25.2021 – PPH article on the new DOT Work Plan. Don’t you wish you could run your household as the state DOT runs?
12.23.2020 – They are spending $104 million on the wrong end of I-395!!
12.03.2020 – Portland Press Herald presents the latest ASCE Infrastructure report that includes the status of Maine’s roads and bridges. Once again, I am left with wondering why the state wants to build out this $104 million boondoggle when we need that money to fix the roads and bridges we drive on every day.
22 % of Maine’s roads are rated as poor and 13% of Maine’s bridges are rated as structurally deficient.
10.21.2020 – Not a good start to the project as reported by the Bangor Daily. I hope the two gentleman have a speedy recovery. The reporting was however incorrect: “… replace the Wilson Street bridge over I-395 as part of the Maine Department of Transportation’s project to replace several interstate bridges.”
This bridge replacement has nothing to do with the DOT’s project to replace several interstate bridges – it is in fact being replaced as the first phase of the connector project and is being funded by an INFRA Grant for the connector project. This bridge was newer than most of Maine’s bridges and had a satisfactory rating.
9.17.2020 – We now know the cuts to the Highway Fund that Governor Mills has put into affect per the BDN: “The highway fund will be reduced by $23 million, according to the release. Another $17 million in reductions could occur, subject to Legislative approval.”
Once again, the state has no money – yet this project continues…
9.01.2020 – Governor Mills has delayed her earlier request for agencies to come up with how they will reduce costs – the DOT was to reduce costs for this FY by 5%. Looks like we will have to wait longer to see what the DOT’s plans are – you can take it to the bank that this project will not be affected:
8.14.2020 – The governor wants 5% of the Highway Fund to help make up for a $524 million shortfall in this fiscal year’s budget (until June 2021). I sent a comment to the governor that this $104 million project should be scrapped to help make up for this shortfall.
8.06.2020 – The Portland Press Herald is more specific: “Figueroa’s memo also details a proposed 5 percent reduction to the state’s highway fund, used for road and bridge repair and construction and other transportation services, like state-operated ferries. Highway fund revenues, largely supported by the tax motorists pay on gasoline, are off by $31 million, but the fund was already facing a more than $230 million shortfall. Voters approved in July another $100 million bond, or borrowing package, for the fund.”
8.06.2020 – Not only does the DOT need to make up for the projected loss of $125 million in gas tax this fiscal year, the DOT has to make up for next year’s loss of the transportation bond that they are already spending this year – now the governor wants a 5% reduction in transportation programs. I say once again – cancel this $100+ million boondoggle!!
7.29.2020: The state needs $1.4 billion to make up for lost revenues over the next 3 years, but let’s build a $100+ million connector that we don’t need and Brewer doesn’t support!!
6.19.2020 – A Bangor Daily article on another DOT boondoggle – the Caribou Bypass. I predict the same safety issues will plague this connector – Route 9 eastbound will be controlled by a stop sign at a “T” intersection where the new pavement of 2B-2 meets Main Road (Route 9) in Eddington. Vehicles going northbound at highway speeds for 6.2 miles will (at that intersection) be expected to not only get down to a safer speed (currently 40 mph in that area) and also try not to t-bone those east-bounders at the stop sign.
5.25.2020 – An article from the Bangor Daily News magnifies the fiscal facts of today – those facts seem to be ignored by the MaineDOT with the push forward of this project:
The MaineDOT estimates that gas tax revenue will come in at least $125 million under budget over the next 18 months. That drop represents about 24 percent of total gas tax revenue the department expected to collect from this April to next September, according to department spokesman Paul Merrill.
Over the next six months, though, the anticipated losses are much steeper. The DOT expects to take in about $74 million less than initially projected — a 40 percent drop-off for that period.
In January, before the pandemic, the department had already planned to complete its two-year construction plan over three years due to an unmet funding need of $232 million. [142 projects were cancelled in January.] The coronavirus has made things worse.
“Fewer people driving means fewer people gassing up, and that means far less expected gas tax revenue,” Merrill said. “We were already in rough shape, and the hit we’re taking because of COVID-19 just further exacerbates an already gargantuan problem.”
5.19.2020 – Forget about the $1 billion and $1.2 billion projected revenue shortfalls by the end of June 2021 – Governor Mills is projecting that revenue shortfall to be $3 billion:
5.11.2020 – MaineDOT warning municipalities: “The revenue loss means there will also be a drop in payments to local municipalities from the Local Road Assistance Program, which is used to pay for capital improvements to local roads. Each year, 9 percent of the state Highway Fund goes to the Local Road Assistance Program, which is distributed to each municipality based on how many miles of roads it maintains.”
Essentially, since the DOT refuses to cancel the I-395 connector, every municipality in Maine and every single citizen in those municipalities is paying for this $100 million boondoggle.
5.07.2020 – Another estimate of revenue losses for the state – this one is a $1.2 billion loss – that’s $200 million more than the $1.0 billion estimate from Moody Analytics – OR – the cost of two I-395 connectors!! The DOT may want to make believe there is not a fiscal catastrophe coming, but everyone else seems to think so…
4.25.2020 – Travel and toll revenue are down on the Turnpike – nothing to see here:
4.18.2020 – Maine could lose a billion dollars because of the pandemic:
4.15.2020 – Another DOT shortfall – a $74 million loss in gas revenues – yet the connector still moves forward:
4.13.2020 – BDN article – travel is down but not the amount of work and bidding:
4.07.2020 – The Governor’s edict that road construction is essential work; it appears that with the exception of a two week stoppage by a major construction company, the construction schedule goes forward unimpeded.
“But as the Department of Transportation’s Paul Merrill notes, there is another issue on the horizon that could affect the sector’s fate: with traffic on Maine roads down 50 percent or more since February, gas taxes are down as well, and that could put at least a temporary squeeze on the state’s road-building budget.”
3.25.2020 – Articles from the PPH and the BDN indicate that the MTA is well aware that the corona virus is affecting loss of tolling with a 20% loss in traffic that may affect future projects. Since the DOT depends on gas tax revenue for a good chunk of their project funding – when will the DOT start falling back on projects because of the loss of revenues due to the lack of driving during this pandemic – OR – will the DOT go ahead and bid the first phase of the connector project – the $13.45 million Wilson Street/I-395 Bridge – in May – no matter the shape of Maine’s coffers by then?
3.19.2020 – Once again – even after it has been determined that annual bonding is not an efficient method of maintaining our roads and bridges – another bond will be taken to the Maine citizenry in June:
3.11.2020 – Portland Press Herald reports on the Governor’s proposed bonding package:
3.08.2020 – Once again – no mention of the I-395 connector in this article and that is why the $13.5 million Wilson Street Bridge will go to bid in May as the most expensive project in Penobscot County. Unlike the many other projects within this article, the Wilson Street Bridge only requires replacement in support of the I-395 connector and is often referred to as the first phase of the connector project.
3.06.2020 – Editorial from the Bangor Daily News:
Maine needs more money for roads?
How ’bout cancelling this $100 million boondoggle!!
3.03.2020 – The blue ribbon commission punts to the next legislative session:
3.01.2020 – Portland Press Herald reports high construction costs causing higher estimates in all construction projects:
2.20.2020 – A must read – you can’t just blindly follow your government officials as they don’t always have your best interest in mind; the CMP corridor is much like the I-395 connector – both projects are being promoted with questionable justification, from questionable out-of-state contractors – with the same steamroller mentality, lack of communication and accountability to the chagrin of impacted communities.
2.17.2020 – If this doesn’t scare you – then nothing will. Talk about “Big Brother”!! The Governor and the MaineDOT are watching your every move…
2.14.2020 – Bangor Daily article on special election to fill Archie Verow’s seat in the state legislature. Please consider voting for Kevin – he is against squandering $100 million on this connector project.
2.13.2020 – Bangor Daily News report in newsprint:
2.11.2020 – Bangor Daily News report on the deadlocked blue-ribbon commission. This makes me ugly – they sit on tens of millions for this connector project at the same time they can’t afford to fix the roads and bridges we already have. The DOT needs to be investigated for mismanaging the state’s infrastructure program – not given more money that they will again misuse…
2.07.2020 – Bangor Daily looks at the Republican infrastructure plan:
2.06.2020 – Portland Press Herald article about a Republican plan to fund road and bridge maintenance. I need to add that the Senator mentioned in this article was a co-sponsor of LD 783 last year for an independent evaluation of this connector project – he also curiously gave the initial motion to kill the bill after talking negatively about it – very strange action…
1.27.2020 – Another report on the TCI from the Bangor Daily News:
1.18.2020 – Maine Examiner report on Governor Mills’ stand on the Transportation Climate Initiative:
1.19.2020 – Bangor Daily News report on the Transportation Climate Initiative:
1.26.2020 – Bangor Daily News Opinion Piece on the Transortation Climate Initiative:
Whether or not you believe in climate change, I don’t see how the Transportation Climate Initiative and the connector can coexist.
I haven’t studied the issue and I am neither for TCI nor against TCI. However – I believe in climate change and freely acknowledge the damage that we have done to our environment – it’s not a hoax.
If the TCI and the funding of our state’s infrastructure repairs are both to be based on gasoline taxes, and there is no consensus from the blue-ribbon commission or the legislature on how to fund our urgent road and bridge repairs, and there is no way a gas tax will pass the state legislature in an election year – one would wonder how the state can do all of this and go ahead with questionable and controversial high cost projects such as the $100 million connector…
If Governor Mills signs on to the TCI, this controversial project needs to be suspended as the environmental benefits of TCI outweighs any environmental benefit that the DOT may claim the connector project offers. I say again – you can’t have both – it is fiscally unobtainable.
The environment should always be a top priority, especially when a project that seriously impacts the environment does not even meet the original purpose and need of said project.
The Brewer City Council identified the city’s environmental concerns in three unanimous resolutions of non-support since 2012: “whereas, the proposed 2B-2 route impacts a significant amount of wetlands and could cause environmental damage…”
Just another reason to cancel this boondoggle…
1.21.2020 – Bangor Daily News Editorial on the DOT’s annual $232 million shortfall and the failure of the blue-ribbon commission and the Legislature to fix the current issues with our infrastructure. What’s missing in everyone of these articles is the fact that no one mentions that as dire as things are, the DOT is still forwarding the $100 million connector project instead of taking that money and spending it on the 142 road and bridge projects that have been sidelined by this shortfall. When will Mainer’s rise up and demand the DOT live within its budget? Unmet transportation needs should be priority one, not new projects that lack public support and do not satisfy the original purpose and needs?
1.20.2020 – After several articles that “the sky was falling” the Maine Turnpike Authority just dropped the news that they plan to spend another $40.7 million. It doesn’t matter whether it is the DOT or the Turnpike Authority – it’s money that has to be approved by the Legislature at a time when Maine cannot pay to maintain the roads and bridges we already have. This is absurd. Isn’t anyone listening?
1.20.2020 – A Bangor Daily News report from August 2020 reference the Wiscasset Bypass – once again, we fail to understand what history has taught us and once again – we will make mistakes by ignoring it…
“We did not want a bypass because we didn’t see the need for it, or (understand) why we’d spend $100 million on that when there are a lot of other roads that need that work.” August 2011 Frank Risell
This is what the City of Brewer has been saying since January 2012. In 2020, the cost is identical to the Wiscasset project, we still do not see the need for the I-395/Route 9 connector and there are lots of other roads that need that money!
What has changed DOT?
1.17.2020 – Bangor Daily News print edition:
1.16.2020 – Bangor Daily reports on the state of our bridges and the concerns of the DOT’s Chief Engineer that high dollar projects are crowding out smaller projects…
She [DOT Chief Engineer Taylor] worries such efforts won’t last long, noting big projects…can crowd smaller projects out. We have to ask, ‘Are we going to lose ground on other projects?’ she said.
How about those 142 projects that have been put on hold while the DOT continues to bank millions of our limited transportation dollars on the I-395/Route 9 Connector and is ready this spring to bid the $13.5 million Wilson St./I-395 replacement bridge that is the first phase of the connector project construction?
If she is so concerned about a $85 million bridge using $35 million in federal money, why isn’t she as worried about a $100 million connector using $25 million in federal INFRA grant money? How many of the 142 cancelled projects were “crowded out” by the controversial I-395/Route 9 connector project? What’s wrong with you Maine, we’re out of money!!
1.15.2020 – The PPH updates their article again with newsworthy information:
1.15.2020 – Front page news, but no regional information.
Commissioner Van Note “struck a dour tone” saying his DOT is “spreading what used to be two years of capital projects over three years…competently managing a slow decline of our transportation system” with the cancellation of 142 essential road and bridge projects.
What was conveniently left out of the Work Plan rollout and the “notable projects” that Mr. Van Note discussed was that the DOT will bid this spring the $13.5 million Wilson Street/I-395 bridge replacement in Brewer, the replacement of a perfectly good bridge in support of and considered to be the first phase of the controversial $100 million I-395/Route 9 Connector, a project that is already partially funded with$57.3 million of our limited transportation dollars in this same work plan–that is notable, and Maine deserves the truth.
Things cannot be so dour when you are sitting on that kind of money for one single project while 142 other projects go unfunded.
Maine’s unmet transportation needs must be priority one!!
1.15.2020 – Maine Public article on the new DOT work plan:
1.14.2020 – Updated Portland Press Herald article:
1.14.2020 – Article from the Portland Press Herald:
1.14.2020 – Updated article from the Bangor Daily:
1.14.2020 – Another report from the Bangor Daily News:
1.14.2020 – Here we go…
1.07.2020 – An editorial from the PPH on tolling. Will they toll the connector? They said NO in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement – but that doesn’t mean they won’t!!
12.26.2019 – Two possible taxes of our gasoline and one of them will not lead to road and bridge repairs. We have no money, yet the DOT will be wasting $79.25 million on a connector that we do not want!! AND – climate is now clashing with repairs…
12.24.2019 – An editorial from the Bangor Daily News; not to sound like a broken record, a good start to this would be to cancel this boondoggle!!
12.19.2019 – Archie Verow, a real gentleman and a supporter of our efforts to stop this connector, has died; we will miss him!!
12.19.2019 – An update on the blue-ribbon commission by the Portland Press Herald:
12.18.2019 – A Portland Press Herald Editorial – transportation colliding with carbon emissions and the future of our state.
12.17.2019 – A Portland Press Herald article on Maine’s transportation carbon footprint.
12.12.2019 – Governor Mills presents her 10-year economic plan which included the blue-ribbon commission on funding infrastructure, that commission is apparently deadlocked. The governor recognizes that the funding is broken, yet the governor has allowed the DOT to go forward with the I-395/Route 9 connector project, that I and many others in Brewer contend is a waste of money at a time when we cannot be wasting money.
12.12.2019 – Another report on Maine’s worst road:
12.09.2019 – Letter to the Editor posted in the Portland Press Herald:
12.04.2019 – A LTE from the Portland Herald Press:
12.03.2019 – A report from the Portland Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News on the use of sealant on Maine’s roads. This sounds much like a driveway sealer, also generically known as jennite, which I won’t use because it is so slippery in the winter and in fact that is why they also offer a product with sand embedded in the solution. I applaud the DOT stopping the use of this product, however the bigger problem here is that the DOT is unable to maintain the roads we already have and yet they want to build more of them that they will not be able to maintain.
You cannot skim coat roads every few years instead of proper maintenance. And—you cannot keep promoting questionable new projects at the same time.
“A lot of roads, especially in rural parts of the state, need more treatment,” Merrill said. “The bottom line is we just can’t afford to do that.””
“A full rebuild of 1 mile of road can cost millions, and repaving could cost about $50,000, Merrill said, so applying sealant is a lower-cost way to shore up crumbling roads.”
“Some roads may get shimmed, which means we fill in ruts or potholes,” Merrill said. “Some roads may get light surface treatments. It depends on the specifics of each given situation. As our funding issues persist, we aim to stretch every dollar we have as far as it will go to maintain safety and mobility.”
How about cancelling the I-395/Route 9 Connector—there’s a lot of dollars that are stretchable in that $79.25 million project…
11.29.2019 – Editorial from the Bangor Daily News Editorial Board:
11.29.2019 – Letter to the Editor as posted today on BDN website;
11.29.2019 – An article from the PPH that shows construction costs are not stagnate. Costs have increased 27% to 58% on the legislatively approved $150 million (estimated in 2017) Gorham connector, bringing the costs to between $191 and $237 million. One would expect similar increases in the I-395/Route 9 connector’s 2017 cost of $79.25 million and I contend these rising costs will be the death knell of the connector project…
11.26.2019 – Bangor Daily News article as the blue-ribbon committee deadlocks…
11.13.2019 – An older LTE with useful information:
11.06.2019 – as predicted:
11.05.2019 – It would be an easy bet to say that the Infrastructure Bond will easily pass today – the Portland Press Herald opines why that may not be the best action for Maine:
10.07.2019 – An interesting LTE from the Portland Press Herald.
9.17.2019 – The new commission to meet today:
9.12.2019 – A recent Bangor Daily Editorial – more of the same on how to fund our state’s road and bridge maintenance program – whilst – the DOT has squirreled away $79.25 million on the controversial I-395/Route 9 connector that many of us see no need for…
9.01.2019 – Bangor Daily News – “Even with the bond…the shortfall is at an estimated $140 million for roads and bridges.”
9.01.2019 – Recent Press Portland Herald editorial – “…the money, earmarked for transportation projects, is insufficient to keep up with road and bridge repair..” Everyone knows that bonding is not the answer – but – we do it anyway:
8.28.2019 – How many potholes can be filled with this $5 million? How does this shortfall affect other unmet transportation needs of our state?
8.27.2019 – Portland Press Herald front page top of the fold – no surprises here:
8.21.2019 – Bangor Daily News and the Portland Press Herald report on the for sure passage of the transportation bond in next Monday’s session in Augusta:
8.15.2019 – The BDN reports on the current bond issue:
8.14.2019 – Electronic version of Portland Herald article dated 8.14.2019:
8.14.2019 posting – Bonding is not the answer and Mr. VanNote knows it!
7.30.2019 posting – Maybe if the MaineDOT stopped pursuing such highly controversial and extremely expensive projects, as the I-395/Rt. 9 Connector, our state would not have to bond every year just to repair the roads and bridges that we already have.
7.30.2019 posting – An article from CNBC. Shouldn’t we all be disgusted at yet another terrible rating? Mainers should be ashamed to be rated as the fourth worst state in the nation for the condition of their infrastructure.
7.09.2019 – Bangor Daily News Editorial with facts on the state of our infrastructure:
7.07.2019 – All we wanted was a $25,000 independent review (not a new study) of the connector project and that was not to happen as the Governor would not support it – yet, here’s a $500,000 study that the Governor supports…
6.21.2019 posting – The Maine Legislature adjourned without getting the now annual $100 million transportation bond on the 2019 ballot; the MaineDOT needs this bond to help them maintain our existing roads and bridges so that they can horde $79.25 million of critical state and federal transportation dollars in support of the connector. 2B-2 seems to be more important to the DOT than our state’s current unmet transportation needs…
6.12.2019 posting – Oped about transportation bonding from the Portland Press Herald:
6.06.2019 – Another Transportation Bond to be voted on this November. Bonds are not free – last year’s bond will cost $29 million in interest payments over the 10 year maturity.
5.31.2019 – A contest for the worst road in Maine with interesting facts about the state of our roads and the cost of those roads to the citizens of Maine:
5.20.2019 – Bangor Daily News Editorial from May 14th
5.01.2019 posting: We don’t have enough money? Really? How ’bout that $79.25 million?
2.25.2019 – The Bangor Daily News:
1.01.2019 – The Portland Press Herald reports on new traffic lights:
12.20.2018 posting – Governor-elect Mills names her DOT Commissioner:
10.22.2018 posting – Again I ask, wouldn’t 2B-2’s $79.25 million construction cost be better spent on Maine’s unmet transportation needs?
10.19.2018 – Excerpt of Bangor Daily News article just posted:
7.12.2018 – The BDN reports on the sale of last year’s transportation bond:
7.12.2018 – This letter could have been written today and not 16 years ago…
7.12.2018 – Another transportation bond to vote on this November, whilst the administration sits on the last one…
7.07.2018 – Bangor Daily News article:
7.06.2018 – Another opinion piece on the perils of bonding.
7.06.2018 – Recent Bangor Daily News Opinion piece posted on 7.02.2018; bonds are not free – they allow politicians to waste your money on pet projects. Our state, just like each and every one of us, needs to work under the budgetary process.
6.06.2018 – You know what they say – bad news drops on Fridays…
And the big question is: where does the state get the rest of the money? For the past 18 years it was known, or at a minimum hoped, that the Feds would kick in $48.8 million (80%) of the $61 million construction cost with the state kicking in the rest @$12.2 million (20%). Apparently that has now all changed, where does the state come up with an extra $23.8 million for a total of $36 million for the state’s share of the construction cost for this controversial project, a project that does not satisfy the original study purpose and needs, when our roads and bridges are in such dire disrepair and their repairs remain unfunded? Wouldn’t that $36 million be better spent on the unmet transportation needs of our state?
6.06.2018 – Show me the money…
4.26.2018 – The lawsuit is over, but the same problems remain…
4.18.2018 – BDN reports on the end of the Wiscasset vs. DOT feud. This was always a no-win for the citizens of Wiscasset; the DOT has unlimited funds from Maine taxpayers and the town has very limited funds from just their own residents. Essentially, you’re fighting yourself with your own money and the state can just wait you out since their bucket of funds is bottomless…
4.17.2018 – Bangor Daily News article dated 4.17.2018:
At the same time that these bridges are reported in such a failed state, the DOT is pushing ahead with the $61 million I-395/Route 9 connector—a project that met only 20% of study purpose and needs in April/May of 2009—a project that lacks the support of the Brewer City Council—a project that has been funded with $8.75 million to complete preliminary engineering and the eminent domain process at this time. It is fiscally irresponsible to allow our existing infrastructure to decay to this point while going forward with a new controversial project that many believe is no longer necessary. It needs to be noted that President Trump’s new infrastructure plan may slash the TIGER grant program.
4.12.2018 – Latest article from the Bangor Daily News reference the Wiscasset “Bypass”.
4.03.2018 – Portland Press Herald article on the continues Wiscasset squabble with DOT. I have experienced everyone of these shenanigans since we discovered that 2B-2 was the new preferred alternative AND the DOT failed to tell us for some 32 months – sounds like the DOT once again failed to tell the impacted community key criteria that they should have been told. Shame on them…
3.16.2018 – The MaineDOT says all bridges designed by FIGG Bridge Engineers are safe:
3.16.2018 – A common connection between bridges in Maine and the failed pedestrian bridge in Florida.
3.13.2018 – Here we go again, I’ve got a secret…
3.10.2018 posting – my response on the second page says it all.
3.10.2018 – the continuation of Wiscasset woes with the MaineDOT:
3.04.2018 – An interesting, yet controversial idea; charge a damages tax to fix our roads:
2.25.2018 – An opinion piece from April of 2017 – nothing has changed…
2.24.2018 – The Beacon, a local discussion about Trump’s Infrastructure Plan.
2.23.2018 – Hybrid bill voted down in Committee:
2.22.2018 – More woes in Wiscasset!!
2.15.2018 -Bangor Daily News Editorial:
2.15.2018 – I would also add that, the MaineDOT is very good at squandering our limited transportation dollars on highly controversial and very questionable projects that local communities see no need for. It would make more sense to terminate such projects, as the I-395/Route 9 connector, and re-appropriate that $61 million to the unmet transportation needs of this state. IMO the DOT lacks the fiscal responsibility to manage their budget as can be seen by their actions…
2.14.2018 – Bangor Daily News article reference “problems” with the Wiscasset Bypass:
2.14.2018 – Portland Press Herald article ref. “problems” with the Wiscasset Bypass:
2.14.2018 – Bangor Daily News Opinion Editorial from Ben Sprague:
2.14.2018 – Maine’s highway fund is underfunded by about $160 million a year…
2.12.2018 – Trump’s Infrastructure Plan and proposed future funding in the BDN:
2.09.2018 – It’s all the fault of electric cars…
2.09.2018 – Interesting article on the SML bridge. Make your own conclusions…
2.06.2018 – An update on the Wiscasset Bypass project. Wouldn’t it be easier for the state to work with communities instead of steamrolling them?
1.17.2018 – Why don’t we hold our officials to what they have said??
1.17.2018 – Bonds are not free…
12.10.2017: Another article from the Portland Press Herald; more of the same actions from the MaineDOT. Yes folks, this IS the way the DOT operates; the two statements in the blue text boxes are exactly what we have seen with 2B-2. The DOT is also hell-bent with their pursuit of 2B-2 and not only did they parse the DEIS/FEIS to favor their “truth”, they removed all five of the alternatives that actual met all the original purpose and needs, and “removed language”of 2B’s documented safety concerns with the 4.5 miles of Route 9 that is an integral segment of 2B-2 that these same people asserted early on in the study “leaving an upbeat version”; the DOT ignored the expertise of the FHWA project Manager that proclaimed 2B-2 did not meet the study purpose and needs in December 2011 as the DEIS was going to print – the truth didn’t work in my community either.
12.06.2017: A small win for Wiscasset as reported in the BDN.
11.30.2017: Excerpts from a November 29th Portland Press Herald article referenced in email below.
11.30.2017: Email sent out this morning reference law suits and legislative action in an attempt to get the MaineDOT to take another look at the Wiscasset project.
11.06.2017: What is the cost of a transportation bond? The BDN has the answer.
10.26.2017: Another comment, my own…
10.25.2017: A few comments from recent BDN editorial.
10.24.2017: A Bangor Daily News Editorial…
7.21.2017: Another transportation bond coming…
7.07.2017: A Bangor Daily News article and an email to my neighbors and community leaders; the project at Wiscasset faces a rocky relationship with the MDOT, much like what we have experienced.
4.26.2017: An opinion editorial from the co-chair of the JSC on Transportation.
2.19.2017 – The continued saga in Wiscasset and the issue of eminent domain:
2.16.2017 – Interesting article about what was once a “sister” project to the I-395/Route 9 Transportation Study with the same people involved, the same time period with similar costs.
2.06.2017 – Another questionable bypass project as reported in the Bangor Daily News.
2.02.2017 – Article posted in the Bangor Daily News:
1.25.2017 – Added comments to the recent BDN article – the MaineDOT and the FHWA had serious safety concerns with the 2B alternative, specifically with the use of Route 9 as an integral segment of the alternative; that alternative (2B) was removed from further consideration by January of 2003 and the reasons were well documented in an October 2003 Technical Memorandum. 2B-2 did not meet purpose and needs in April of 2009, yet now our state feels fit to spend $61 million to take this same alternative to construction…
1.23.2017 – Bangor Daily News article posted online this morning and was front page-below the fold in today’s print issue. Many people are impacted by this questionable project to include those that, through no fault of their own, simply abut this connector and have already suffered a loss of valuation in their real estate with no instrument to recoup that loss – absolutely zero compensation…
I-395/Route 9 connector neighbors lament threat to home values
1.18.2017 – Bangor Daily News article posted 1.17.2017. Three things to take away from this article: First, the MaineDOT used to send out biweekly status reports which started in Nov2012 as every two weeks and rapidly into once a month or every few months before virtually disappearing. (See the biweekly report section on this website.) Issues like these could be cleared up easily by reinitiating the status report requirement. Second, when the MaineDOT 2017-2019 Work Plan contains $19 million of unmet bridge needs each year of the plan for an overall shortfall of $59 million each year of the plan in the Core Highway and Bridge Program (scroll down to view 1.09.2017 entry) – why did the DOT feel they could spend $7.25 million on a deficient connector that many impacted citizens and their duly elected community leaders have made perfectly clear that they do not support? Third, the $7.25 million appropriated for the connector is logically a continuation of the right-of-way and design process -BUT, that seems to be quite a bit of money to just buy the right-of-way. It’s our money – they need to be telling us what they are doing with it!!
1.17.2017 – Recent Bangor Daily News article:
11.29.2016 – Portland Press Herald article posted 11.28.2016:
11.23.2016: Bangor Daily News article from November 15th.
11.06.2016: Interesting article-why do politicians promote new projects in favor of fixing the existing infrastructure? Basically, new projects are sexier than potholes and allows the politician a ribbon cutting talking point. AND-the states control the money that the Feds provide – in the case of this connector project – that’s 80% or $48.8 million. QUOTE: political incentives lead governments to direct resources to overly expensive or unnecessary projects and to underinvest in maintenance.
11.02.2016: When the MDOT destroys our existing wetland for this questionable project, they will have to mitigate the loss by protecting wetlands in another area; normally mitigation takes place within the same area – but now the MDOT will make these mitigations 65 miles away that will have lasting affects on residents of Newcastle and once again eminent domain raises its ugly head!!
11.01.2016: Portland Press Herald article.
10.15.2106: WLBZ October 14th report on Route 1A safety issues.
10.13.2016: Added comment to the BDN for “I-395 connector unnecessary” letter to the editor below.
10.11.2016: Also in the same letters to the editor posted on 10.11.2016. A better question would be: how much of this bond will end up funding 2B-2 when these funds really should go to rebuilding our infrastructure? 2B-2 will cost Maine taxpayers $61 million +++ at a time when the state cannot afford to even maintain our existing roads and bridges.
10.11.2016: Our Legislators continually complain about the lack of transportation funds at every turn – YET – the JSC Transportation acts more like an extension of the DOT than the check and balance to the DOT, the primary function of the JSC Transportation. That was very evident in our attempt in February 2015 to legislate the removal of 2B-2 from the process via LD 47. Until the DOT is forced to prioritize the maintenance of our existing failed roads and bridges before any new projects – especially a questionable project that does not meet the original purpose and needs and is unwanted by many – we will continue to face these enormous yearly shortfalls. Wouldn’t 2B-2’s $61 million cost go a long way to fund the unmet transportation needs of the state of Maine?
10/11/2016: We should not be surprised when opposition is ignored by the MDOT.
10/06/2016: Maybe if the MDOT stopped building these questionable new bypasses and instead repaired the roads and bridges we already have – we wouldn’t be voting on the 4th bond since the LePage administration took over – an administration that promised no new gas tax and no new bonds!!!
7/27/2016: Posted comment on the BDN Letters to the Editor.
7.20.2016 Bangor Daily News article.
7.19.2016: Bangor Daily News article.
7.06.2016: Once again – an accident on Route 1A in Holden brings traffic to a complete halt – as reported by the Bangor Daily News. The commenter is 100% correct that I-395 should be dumping most of the traffic onto Route 1A in Dedham – just as many have said in the past. SO – let’s instead – spend $61 million of transportation funds that we don’t have at a time when we can’t even afford to maintain our existing infrastructure on a connector to Route 9 that does not meet the original study purpose and needs and worry about Route 1A at some other time. Is this the best use of our limited transportation dollars?
6.24.2016: Bangor Daily News article.
5.05.2016: A Portland Press Herald article from April 25, 2016. SO – tell us once again why we should spend $61 million on a connector (2B-2) that does not meet the original study purpose and needs – at a time when we cannot make necessary repairs to our existing infrastructure. It’s just dumb!!
In a February 15, 2016 BDN article: “The DOT, when they issued their work plan about a month ago, said that we are running a deficit of about $168 million every single year just to keep up with basic maintenance for our roads and bridges,” McLean said. (Representative McLean is Co-Chair of the 127th JSC Transportation)
SO – “…a deficit of about $168 million shortfall every single year just to keep up with basic maintenance for our roads and bridges.” YET – let’s waste another $61 million on a connector (2B-2) that satisfied only 20% of the purpose and needs in April 2009 and was removed from further consideration in January 2003 for safety concerns. IT’S JUST DUMB!!
4.29.2016: Bangor Daily News Letter to the Editor just posted for April 30, 2016.
4.27.2016: Bangor Daily News on-line article just posted.
4.24.2016: Bangor Daily News Letter to the Editor posted today.
4.18.2016: I-395 to get some much needed repairs this summer.
4.17.2016: Bangor Daily News article and Letter to the Editor for April 16th.
4.16.2016: Another transportation bond this November (expect another bond in 2017).
4.11.2016: Bangor Daily News article in print and on-line. Front page and above the fold!!
4.04.2016: Bangor Daily News Letter to the Editor posted online on 4.01.16 and in print on Saturday 4.02.16.
3.29.2016: Front page and above the fold!!
3.26.2016: Well – that pretty much sums up my Friday morning.
3.09.2016: Two reports today on work proposed in Wiscasset. I must ask why the good people of Wiscasset get to “choose to do nothing” via a referendum vote while our voices have been squelched from day one?
12.16.2015: The MaineDOT may have shown their hand on the future of up to 30 more bridges in rural Maine at a time when the MaineDOT can’t even afford to maintain the roads and bridges we already have. They bemoan an annual $70 million in unmet bridge needs while vigorously promoting an expenditure of $61 million on an alternative (2B-2) that only met 20% (1 of 5) of purpose and needs in Apr 2009. 2B-2 was given the appearance of meeting purpose and needs by Dec 2010 by changing the study to make 2B-2 fit!! Note their use of: “inconvenience and angst”. They just don’t get it…
12.03.2015: Portland Herald Article (excerpted).
12.03.2015: Bangor Daily News Article.
11.28.2015: Bangor Daily News Article.
11.22.2015: Bangor Daily News Article.
10.28.2015: Bangor Daily News article reference a new report by TRIP on the condition of Maine’s bridges. We patiently wait for the I-395/Route 9 Transportation Study FHWA Record of Decision (ROD) at the same time that a new transportation bond is awaiting voters, and TRIP reminds us once again of the poor condition of our state’s bridges. On one hand, the MaineDOT can’t afford to maintain the roads and bridges we already have while documenting $70 million in unmet bridge needs per year in their current work plan, but on the other hand they have no problem supporting a $61 million deficient project (2B-2) that does not satisfy the original Purpose and Needs and is nothing more than a band-aide on a problem that doesn’t exist anymore; the original concern was to get logging trucks off Route 46 and now that the mill is gone Canadian truckers have now become the replacement concern!!?? Aren’t there enough unmet transportation needs in this state that could better use 2B-2’s $61 million?
9/23/2015: Bangor Daily News Letter to the Editor for Thursday, September 24th.
9/19/2015: Bangor Daily News Letter to the Editor for Monday, September 21st.
8/25/2015: Bangor Daily News article posted on website. Remember when you were told last January that the project was not in the 3 year Work Plan and you thought you could get a rest from this for at least 3 years; guess again – these plans are often amended…
8/06/2015: BDN reports on “a possible resolve about whether to support or oppose the state’s preferred route for the planned Interstate 395-Route 9 connector road.”
8/01/2015: Bangor Daily News article posted on website reference Highway Trust Fund.
6/10/2015: A Press Herald article dated 5.20.2015 with some interesting observations.
“…as the transportation agency struggles to maintain the existing infrastructure.”
“…the money collected from the gas tax can fund the engineering and
design of road and bridge projects, but not actual construction.”
“…we don’t have a penny to spend on a road or a bridge. Nothing.”
The I-395/Route 9 Transportation Study has been ongoing since the year 2000. By Sept 2010 (3EIK-2) the original preferred alternative was removed and replaced with alternative 2B-2, an alternative that does not satisfy the original Study Purpose and Needs. 2B-2’s coronation was not known by the general public until January 2012. How much has this study cost us so far? I believe it has cost $2.75+ million to date and the study continues. Why expend those kind of funds when we apparently do not have the money to even maintain the roads and bridges we already have, let alone spend another $61+ million on an alternative that many do not see the need for.
5/14/2015: Bangor Daily News article.
3/3/2015: BDN article: Governor LePage is looking for an additional $100 million per year to rebuild Maine’s failing bridges, YET, theI-395/Route 9 Transportation Study Moves on…
2/27/2015: Just posted on the BDN website:
2/23/2015: Bangor Daily News Letter to the Editor:
2/24/2015: I added my own comment:
2/24/2015: Two more comments.
Bangor Daily News article 2/17/2015: “Committee rejects bill that would halt I-395, Route 9 connector”. Whether LD 47 is passed or not; it does not negate the fact that 2B-2 does not meet the Purpose and Needs for this project. All that information is posted on this website, for all to see. 2B-2 does not satisfy system linkage near term needs for the entire 20 year design life of the project. It’s really that simple – just read for yourself…
3 March 2015 – The Governor is looking for an additional $100 million per year to fix Maine’s failing bridges, yet the I-395/Route 9 Study keeps moving on…
27 February 2015 – Selectman voted in support of 2B-2 by a 3 to 2 vote.
17 February 2015 – LD 47 work session, voted 8 to 1 ought not to pass.
03 February 2015 – Community resistance continues, calling it “a complete waste of taxpayer dollars” and a “short-term, Band-Aid fix,” which just a few years ago failed to meet the state’s own project requirements.
02 February 2015 – State insists it’s beneficial, community resistance continues
16 January 2015 – LD 47 to ask for a public hearing that will lead to the removal of 2B-2 from consideration.
12 January 2015 – connector not in this current work plan…
23 September 2014 – the Biological Opinion we have waited for since January has finally been released. The USFWS sees no problem approving 2B-2; it should come as no surprise since the USFWS sent a letter in Dec 2011 to the MaineDOT stating that they believed they would be able to support alternative 2B-2. So why did we just wait 8 months for a sugar-coated report when the USFWS had already basically approved the selection several years ago?
21 Jan 2014 – Awaiting Biological Opinion from USFWS before completing FEIS. Future work cannot be scheduled until the Record of Decision is received. (FYI: ROD can be issued 30 days following the FEIS.)
27 September 2013
19 Sept 2013 – Representative Verow filed LR 2435 to remove 2B-2.
17 Apr 2013 – Downgrade in criteria to rolling rural with 100′ ROW.
15 Apr 2013 – FOAA filed Oct 2012 and Eddington paid for FOAA.
8 Apr 2013
12 Feb 2013 – Gretchen Heldmann filed her lawsuit on 11 Jan 2013 for lack of data to back up MaineDOT’s “hard look at Route 9”.
11 Dec 2013
6 Dec 2012
21 Oct 2012 – Selectman file FOAA request with MaineDOT.
10 Jun 2012 – Of course they are telling, where are our answers?
15 May 2012 – A summary of what 2B-2 is and what 2B-2 isn’t.
2 May 2012 – No answers offered by any official at the Public Hearing. Nobody rose to testify in favor of the 2B-2/preferred alternative.
28 Apr 2012 – Selectman remove support via Resolve; petition with 180 signatures of Eddington residents against 2B-2 is offered to the board.
20 Apr 2012 – Public comments due by 15 May.
4 Apr 2012 – Government officials get an ear-full of complaints.
2 Apr 2012 – Schedule for Brewer and Eddington open houses.
13 Mar 2012 – Council removes support of project via Resolve.
12 Mar 2012 – Resolve of non-support being considered.
10 Jan 2012 – Resident briefs the City Council on 2B-2 issues.
6 Jan 2012 – MaineDOT has maintained complete silence on study.
5 Jan 2012 – The new preferred alternative is 2B-2!