February 21, 2013

Panel endorses study of State, High street conversion

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The City Council's transportation committee on Wednesday night endorsed an engineering study to convert two major one-way streets – State and High – into two-way streets.

But whether funding for the study – estimated to cost $150,000 – will be included in the upcoming budget remains to be seen.

Public Services Director Michael Bobinsky said there is currently no state or federal funding available for the project, which is intended to make the city more bike and pedestrian friendly, so it would need to be funded from local property taxes.

The project is included in the Public Services budget that has been submitted to City Manager Mark Rees, who is expected to review budget requests before sending a spending plan to the City Council's Finance Committee.

The funding request comes as the city stands to lose millions in revenue from the state. Gov. Paul LePage’s budget proposes eliminating revenue-sharing with municipalities, among other cuts, which would force the city to cut services or increase property tax rates.

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