11.23.2020 – News Center Maine / WLBZ Channel 2 reports that the DOT faces a $40 million shortfall in gas revenues and will have to look at priorities in the spring – they also verified that they have been spending the bond money that was intended for next year on this year’s projects. The DOT spokesman can be heard saying: ” Lower priority roads will potentially get less of a treatment than 2 or 3 years ago…the money just isn’t there.” YET – they will spend $104 million on this boondoggle in lieu of every other bridge and road in the state!!
8.18.2020 – Channel 7 reports on the start of the connector project:
6.24.2020 – News Center Maine (Channel 2/6) reports on the upcoming transportation bond to be voted on during the July 14th primary. Unlike other bonds – this money will be used immediately to make up for the losses due to covid-19 – while ignoring the projects in 2021 that the bond was intended to fund. The MaineDOT pushed ahead with this $100 million connector that many do not want – yet – cries for more money to mismanage…
5.30.2020 – News Center Report on Channel 2 – State of Maine finance officials say the 2020 budget ending in June is just fine. Even though forecasters have warned of up to a $1.2 billion shortfall by the end of June 2021 – the state however does admit to a $525 million shortfall in next year’s budget. $1.2 billion or $0.525 billion – what’s the difference? We still don’t have the money for this project.
5.19.2020 – Nothing to see here – let’s build the connector!!
5.12.2020 – A report from Channel 5 – MaineDOT warning the losses in revenues to be felt by local communities.
5.08.2020 – Channel 7 report from MaineDOT spokesman: “Merrill said Thursday there are concerns from the dot about future construction projects with a projected loss in gas tax revenue due to COVID-19.” They don’t seem that worried if they have already decided to go ahead with the $100 million I-395 connector project.
4.30.2020 – From Channel 2 news on April 30th: How the covid virus is affecting the MaineDOT. Commissioner Van Note discusses the fuel tax: “That money has stopped flowing.” The DOT is projecting a 40% $74 million loss in Highway Fund revenues from April to the end of September. He also stated that most work will go on as planned and that they thought Federal monies would be available to make up for the covid losses, but that hasn’t materialized. Money that the state has already received cannot be used to make up for revenue losses. Van Note also stated (disturbingly) that they could take some money out of the transportation bond that will be voted on in June, even though that money was for projects planned next year.
Remember the old Popeye cartoons where Wimpy says “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” The DOT cannot operate in this fashion – hoping that next “Tuesday” will take care of itself or the feds will dump them some more money to spend.
4.18.2020 – WMTW Channel 8 reports a $125 million shortfall in gas revenues over the next 18 months:
3.11.2020 – Here comes another bond for November:
2.07.2020 – Channel 5 report on the Republican plan to fund road and bridge re[airs; Democratic Representative McClean ask a very pertinent question – one that I have an easy answer for…
1.23.2020 – Channel 7 report on the special election for Archie Verow’s seat; please vote for Kevin O’Connell – a friend, a previous Mayor, a previous Councilor, a veteran and one of the unanimous signatures on 3 resolutions of nonsupport of this project. He’ll be a strong voice for the City of Brewer.
1.23.2020 – Channel 7 report on the $13.5 Wilson Street bridge replacement, a perfectly good bridge that is only being replaced because of 2B-2.
How’s this for optics? The DOT admits to a $232 million annual shortfall, has had to cancel 142 projects in the latest 3 year work plan and will either cancel all together or just skim coat our failing roads. Yet, the DOT has no problem spending $13.5 million on replacing a normally good bridge to support the $100 million connector that the City of Brewer does not support.
How many roads and bridges have been sacrificed so the DOT can continue to bank our scarce transportation dollars into the controversial I-395/Route 9 connector project?
$237 million for the Gorham Bypass, $40.7 million for the Saco exit on I-95 and $100 million for the I-395 connector, a $232 million annual shortfall in the roads and bridges maintenance budget and 142 projects cancelled – the state needs to tackle the real problem with the MaineDOT – it’s not the lack of funding, it’s what they are spending the funds on; not one more foot of new pavement should be laid until our existing roads and bridges are brought back up to an acceptable level. The DOT’s top priority must be the unmet transportation needs of the state of Maine.
1.17.2020 – A report from News Center Maine on YouTube:
1.14.2020 – FOX/ABC report on MaineDOT’s new Work Plan:
1.14.2020 – Channel 5 reports on MaineDOT’s new Work Plan:
1.03.2020 – Channel 8 transcript on the worst traffic spots in Maine. As one that has lived in the Brewer area since 1992, nothing – absolutely nothing – has been done to improve the Intersection of Hammond and I-395 in Bangor -AND – is there anyone in this area that hasn’t been almost killed trying to merge onto I-95 from I-395, especially when going southbound? YET, the DOT spends
their our money on a project that fails to meet the original purpose and needs. When the DOT speaks, I no longer listen – they do not speak the truth…
12.29.2019 – Respect for Archie Verow:
12.19.2019 – Statements from Maine Legislature and Governor Janet Mills on Channel 5:
11.25.2019 – Report on the blue-ribbon commission from News Center Maine:
11.19.2019 – Three excellent reports from WMTW Channel 8:
11.17.2019 – A 10.28.19 report from WMTW Channel 8 – even with the passage of the $105 million transportation bond – the DOT will still have a shortfall of $230 million for next year alone – BUT, let’s build a $79.25 million connector that many do not want!!
11.15.2019 – A report on the blue-ribbon commission:
10.01.2019 – Another damning and embarrassing infrastructure rating: 4th WORST!!
9.19.2019 – Two reports on the new commission:
9.12.2019 – A report from News Center Maine:
8.15.2019 – WABI reports on the ongoing bond issue:
6.23.2019 posting – “…meaning the lack of a new transportation bond would not cause any immediate problems. Legislators, however, say they hope a bond can be approved and sent to voters in November to avoid any interruption to the DOT funding stream.” This one single bond will cost Mainers $29 million in interest payments over the ten year maturity of the bond; we should not depend on bonding as an integral part of the “funding stream”.
6.08.2019 posting – not many people realize that the FHWA has drastically changed the definition of what is now structurally deficient within the bridge rating system – if you don’t pay attention, one would think things are getting better when that is not the case:
5.10.2019 posting – WABI report on cancelled projects:
10.16.2016: WVII/WFVX report from October 14th.
10.15.2106: WLBZ October 14th report on Route 1A safety issues.
7/21/2016: WLBZ/Channel 2 Report by.
7.21.2016: Gretchen Heldmann on WZON 620 – The Pulse.
7.18.2016: WABI report.
4.27.2016: Link to this morning’s interview on The Pulse AM 620 on WZON.
4.25.2016: Upcoming event with Gretchen and our friends at The Pulse-WZON AM 620.
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?
1.16.2016: WFVX Bangor report on MaineDOT Work Plan.
1.16.2016: WLBZ2 report on the new MaineDOT Work Plan.
1.16.2016: MaineDOT unveils 2016-2017-2018 Work Plan on WABI TV5.
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…
26 August 2015 – Gretchen Heldmann interview on WZON The Pulse Morning Show – Summary of process to date, discussion of recent updates regarding STIP.
18 Feb 2015 – Gretchen Heldmann interview on WZON The Pulse Morning Show – Summary of process to date, discussion of LD 47.
3/4/2015: WLBZ news report “Maine DOT says it needs extra $70M a year for bridges.” Note that: “The MDOT report says there are more than 770 bridges in Maine that are more than 70 years old and need major repair or replacement.” And, the I-395/Route 9 Transportation Study keeps moving on… Should we spend $61 million on a deficient 2B-2 alternative or spend that $61 million rebuilding bridges that are in need of dire repair?
2/23/2015: WABI TV reports on a $26 million shortfall in federal transportation funds for a 5 year period ending in 2013. And once again, one must ask: what is this strange fixation that the MaineDOT has with 2B-2? “…Maine needs an additional $119 million a year just to maintain the transportation system’s basic needs.” This just makes me want to scream!
19 Sept 2013 – Gretchen Heldmann interview on WZON The Pulse Morning Show – skip to about an hour into the show, 01:01:15. Basic overview of study to date, summary of issues with current route choice, MDOT transparency issues.