Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine in support of LD 1815
February 15, 2018
Senator Hamper, Representative Gattine and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs, my name is Nancy Smith and I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine.
We are a statewide non-partisan, non-profit, membership-based organization working to create lasting prosperity without sacrificing the quality of life that defines Maine. We strongly support this bill because revitalization of our transportation infrastructure is a key element of basic smart growth principals. A well-conceived transportation strategy which results in a safe, efficient and effective system of roads, highways, bridges, railroads, public transit and pedestrian paths and bikeways is essential towards achieving the goal of building a sustainable economy which benefits all Maine citizens as well as preserving our unique quality of place and protecting our environment.
GrowSmart Maine has been a leader in advocating for a properly funded and effective transportation infrastructure which incorporates smart growth innovations. GrowSmart Maine has worked with municipalities across the state to encourage such strategies to optimize the use of scarce resources in a manner which will result in a safe and sensible transportation infrastructure. In recent years, GrowSmart Maine has championed a “Complete Streets” set of principles which encourage the development of a transportation system that not only benefits vehicles but also works to integrate and promote public access to safe walking and biking trails as well as the increased availability of public transit in all areas of the state.
Maine Department of Transportation adopted a Complete Streets Policy. Learn more here: http://maine.gov/mdot/completestreets/
The need to improve Maine’s transportation infrastructure is immediate and depends on adequate funding. Recent developments on the federal level may or may not result in the provision of additional funds to accomplish the revitalization of Maine’s transportation infrastructure. When coupled with declining revenues collected by Maine’s Highway Fund, the questions around increased future federal transportation funds underline the need for the significant funds proposed in LD 1815.
As this committee will soon face the daunting task of prioritizing the many bonds that have been proposed, we at GrowSmart Maine will assist in any way that is helpful.