Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine in support of LD 1559, An Act to Advance the State’s Public Transit Systems by Reinvigorating the Public Transit Advisory Council and Increasing Funding
April 25, 2023
Senator Chipman, Representative Williams, and Honorable Members of the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation
My name is Nancy Smith, I live in Ellsworth, and I am the CEO of GrowSmart Maine. We are a statewide non-partisan non-profit organization helping communities navigate change in alignment with smart growth. We advocate for comprehensive policies and funding for smart growth practices and outcomes.
We have partnered with Build Maine to guide a transparent crowd-sourcing of policy proposals that began a year ago, and has drawn together over a hundred people from across Maine and beyond. This testimony represents the view of Build Maine as well as GrowSmart Maine.
Policy Action 2023 has resulted in sixteen proposals from eight working groups, all addressing this goal, “to address barriers to and create incentives for equitable, sustainable growth and development that strengthens downtowns and villages of all sizes while pulling development pressure away from productive and open natural areas. We do so acknowledging that Maine has urban, rural, and suburban settings for which any solution may or may not be a fit and a variety of people who deserve to be welcomed to their communities.”
LD 1559 is the outcome of a months-long collaborative process within the working group focused on reworking transportation funding to address unmet needs across Maine, in urban and rural communities. As you can see in the attached Fact Sheet, there are many arguments in favor of this legislation, because it will add value throughout Maine in economic development, climate action, fiscal health, transportation safety and choice, and quality of life.
We realize the fiscal note will be significant, but we also believe this to be a sound investment in all those aspects of living and working in Maine.
GrowSmart Maine and Build Maine will assist the committee in any way that is helpful.