BANGOR – While there’s been a lot of attention on question one of Maine’s ballot measures, voters still have four other referendum questions to consider. The four bond issues could improve the quality of education, transportation and water across the state.
A yes vote for questions two and three would give millions in bond money to improvements ranging from a new pier for Maine Maritime Academy as well as upgrading highways and bridges. Question two totals 30 million dollars aimed at various water quality projects.
“27.5 million of that goes to towns to help with upgrades of wastewater treatment plants,” said Natural Resources Council of Maine Senior Director of Advocacy Pete Didisheim. “In many cases we have aging pipe systems that break down and results in essentially untreated sewage going into the ocean.”
There will also be money for a small grant program to improve failing septic systems and replace discharge pipes that go right from people’s homes to the ocean. Approval of question three gives over 100 million dollars to improve highways, bridges and other transportation equipment.
The last set of questions focus on improving facilities and programs for the University of Maine System and Maine Community College System.
“It’s largely focused on improvements to student services and classrooms and laboratories that have a direct connection to critical state work-force needs like engineering, education, local education,” said UMaine System Executive Director of Public Affairs Dan Demeritt.
The University of Maine System will use a quarter of that 49-million-dollar package for their nursing program in hopes of addressing the state’s nursing shortage.
“These investments are designed to really increase our capacity to put Mainers on a path to Maine careers,” said Demeritt.
Fifteen million dollars will be spread across Maine’s seven community colleges with the approval of question five.
“This is going to provide infrastructure support that’s going to help improve and expand facilities that are going to be used for our educational and our training spaces, our classrooms and our laboratories,” said Maine Community College President Derek Langhauser.
The size of each college would determine how much money all seven campuses receive.
“The range of our allocations goes from about 900 thousand at our smallest college to 4 million dollars at our largest college,” said Langhauser. “By small and large I mean the size of the enrollment.”
For more information on all five ballot measures you can visit www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming/pdf/citizensguide.pdf for a full guide to the referendum election.