In Support of LD 1711

Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine in support of LD 1711, An Act to Provide for Safe Roadway Construction Design Criteria

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May 2, 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.  This testimony represents the view of GrowSmart and Build Maine.

As you will recall from my testimony earlier in this session, GrowSmart and  Build Maine are guiding 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. Policy Action 2023 resulted in sixteen proposals from 8 working groups, all addressing a goal of sustainable growth in Maine’s rural, suburban and urban communities. Staff from Maine DOT were welcome participants in this process. I’ve included just one photo capturing the dynamic discussions that lead to these proposals.

In the list of bills attached to my testimony, note the SIX that came before this committee highlighted. LD 1711 is the final transportation bill in Policy Action 2023, and it proposes an equitable transportation priority system for the department’s transportation capital improvement program by incorporating key safety, crash, and economic metrics. This will result in a program that is geographically balanced and addresses rural and urban transportation needs equally and lead to increased economic activity and investment along these roadways. 

It is important to highlight the deep connection between land use and roads. When they are considered separately, we create the frustration you are so often hearing about in this committee. To think and act otherwise would be like managing your household by saying that grocery shopping and meal preparation are two separate tasks. For a household to function, connections between the two roles is essential. It’s the same with planning for our roads and for what happens on the land alongside them.  I have attached a Fact Sheet with additional information about the bill and its benefits and encourage you to review the many thoughtful letters submitted online in support of LD1711.