Testimony of GrowSmart Maine in favor of LD 673, “An Act To Expand Fiscally Responsible Transportation through Increased ZOOM Bus Service”

Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine

in favor of LD 673,

An Act To Expand Fiscally Responsible Transportation through Increased ZOOM Bus Service

March 22, 2011

Senator Collins, Representative Cebra and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation. My name is Nancy Smith and I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine. As many of you know from our previous interactions with the committee, GrowSmart Maine is a statewide non-profit membership-based organization working to grow Maine's economy, protect its distinctive character, and enhance our state's quality places. I regret that previously scheduled commitments prevent me or other GrowSmart Maine representatives to present this testimony at today’s Public Hearing.

As a part of our commitment to strengthening Maine’s economy, GrowSmart Maine is particularly enthusiastic about well grounded, thoughtful and creative proposals which seek to grow the economy in a sustainable manner while at the same time preserving our state’s unique character and quality of place. We believe this bill fits that description. In particular, in this era of diminished financial resources for transportation projects, we support the proposal to transfer 3% of operating revenues from the Maine Turnpike Authority to the Maine Department of Transportation and the requirement that the MTA provide additional ZOOM bus service to established and prominent downtown centers in several parts of the state. In short, we strongly support the more efficient use of existing resources to promote smart growth transportation policies and programs which reduce wear and tear and our existing highways, reduce commuting costs and promote alternative modes of transportation.

GrowSmart Maine evaluates legislation from several perspectives as we consider the relevance to our mission. We have found value in reviewing the benchmarks highlighted in the Measures of Growth in Focus Annual Report, released each year by the Maine Economic Growth Council, under the Maine Development Foundation. For this specific bill, we note that Benchmark # 15 pertains to Transportation Infrastructure and proposes that Maine’s roadway deficiency index will decline each year to the New England index. We believe that passage of LD 673 will help to achieve that benchmark.

Thank you for the opportunity to present these remarks.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding GrowSmart Maine’s support for LD 673.