Yesterday voters in Maine and Texas both affirmed ballot resolutions resulting in increased investment in their local infrastructure.
In Maine voters overwhelming approved Bond Question 3, 72% in favor to 28% opposed. Bond Question 3 gives permission to the State to borrow $100 million to fund transportation projects around the state which in turn would make the State eligible for at least $154 million in matching funds. Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be administered by the Department of Transportation and would fund at least $49 million for road projects, $27 million for bridge projects and $24 million for multi-modal projects, including facilities and equipment related to ports, harbors, marine transportation, aviation, railroads (both passenger and freight), and transit (public transportation).
In Texas Proposition 6 was also approved by a large margin – 73% to 27%. Proposition 6 authorizes the transfer of $2 billion from the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF or “Rainy Day Fund”) to a State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT). The $2 billion one-time cash infusion will be used with already authorized bonds to provide low interest loans, credit enhancement, interest deferrals, and other financial assistance to projects approved in the State Water Plan. It is expected that the SWIFT will operate as a revolving fund; with repayments funding new loans, the program should provide the financing needed to implement the projects in the 50-year State Water Plan.
ASCE supported both of these initiatives through various media channels and Key Alerts to Section members in both states. In Texas, letters to the editor from ASCE members in Texas were picked up by the Houston Chronicle and Focus Daily News and KLTV in East Texas ran a video spot in which ASCE member Vik Verma, P.E., was highlighted. In Maine, two newspapers, the Morning Sentinel and the Bangor Daily News each ran supportive editorials that cited the 2012 Report Card for Maine’s Infrastructure.
The voters in both of those states have shown that infrastructure investment is a priority. So should you!