May 16, 2012

Maine lawmakers give initial OK to bonds

From staff and news service reports

AUGUSTA — Five bonds totaling $95.7 million in long-term borrowing have all won initial approval by lawmakers.

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The Senate approved four bonds this afternoon and the House approved one. More votes are needed on the bills before they go to Gov. Paul LePage, but all got well more than the two-thirds vote necessary for passage.

The Senate gave initial approval to the largest of the bonds – $51.5 million for highways, bridges and other transportation projects. Senators also approved a $20 million bond for research and development; $11.3 million for public higher education and a $5 million bond issue for land conservation.

The House gave initial approval to a $7.9 million bond issue to pay for clean water projects. A vote on that bond issue was still pending in the Senate at 4 p.m.

The Senate is in recess until 7 p.m. and the House is continuing work on the bonds and other issues.

LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said today that the governor is attending a Republican Governor's Association meeting in North Carolina, and will review the bills when he returns. Once the bills go to the governor, he has 10 days to consider them.

There's been no clear signal from Gov. Paul LePage on whether he'll support any bonds.

Lawmakers are hoping to ask voters to approve the bonds in November.


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