August 14, 2012

East-west highway advocate now wants to suspend feasibility study

Sen. Doug Thomas, R-Ripley, says his constituents are worried about having their properties taken away through eminent domain.

By John Richardson jrichardson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Rep. Doug Thomas, R-Ripley

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Vigue said the opposition and potential delay do not mean the highway idea will once again be shelved. "The silent majority has not weighed in on this project," he said.

Rep. Edward Mazurek, D-Rockland, said he hopes the study will be put on hold indefinitely because he never saw big economic benefits in the project.

"They may have seen that to rush into this without the general support of the people of Maine is not what they really want to do," he said. "To change the Constitution, I mean, that's a big, big step. It's very difficult to do. It's very costly, and I don't think it's worth it."

Rep. Clark, the Democrat who is running for Thomas' Senate seat, said he signed on as a co-sponsor of the study legislation because it seemed like a good economic development idea at the time.

He blames Thomas for not first lining up support from local leaders and voters.

"We thought he had done his homework, and come to find out he didn't," Clark said.

Clark said he hears about the highway constantly as he campaigns. "In Piscataquis County, this is the big issue."

If lawmakers from northern Maine knew how upset local voters would be, the study probably wouldn't have been approved, Clark said.

He said he now supports halting the study and not spending $300,000 on the idea.

"I don't think the state should even be involved with it," Clark said.

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 791-6324 or at:

jrichardson@pressherald.com

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Today's poll: East-west highway

Should the state put an east-west highway study on hold until the Legislature can enact protections for private property owners?

Yes

No

View Results