Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Gov. LePage has signed legislation authorizing spending $300,000 of Maine taxpayers' money to study a private business proposal to construct an east-west highway.
A reader who says that most Canadian tourist traffic to Maine travels from Quebec to the coast wonders how building an east-west highway will change that.
File photo/The Portland Press Herald
My question is, how will taxpayers be assured that the study will be comprehensive and unbiased and not just provide the answer the proponents want to hear?
The cost of gasoline and diesel fuel continues upward, probably for good. Is it reasonable, then, to invest in massive new road-construction projects?
The map suggests the highway will be an expressway for Canadian truckers traveling between Quebec and New Brunswick. How will this benefit Maine residents?
Peter Vigue of Cianbro believes the road will enhance tourism. Canadian tourists generally are from Quebec traveling north to south to visit coastal Maine. How will this highway change that?
There is an existing east-west railroad across Maine connecting Quebec to New Brunswick on the same route as the proposed highway.
This railroad is underutilized and could handle a significant increase in trailer or container traffic, or a new passenger train, with a fraction of the pollution, and without turning over one new shovelful of dirt. Will this be considered in the study?
Just a year ago, Maine taxpayers stepped in to preserve north-south rail lines serving Aroostook County. Will the same be necessary if the new highway takes traffic off the east-west railroad?
In rough numbers, financing the $2 billion construction cost at 5 percent over 30 years looks like $11 million a month just to pay the debt, not including maintenance costs.
Who will pay if the project fails? The same folks who put up $300,000 for the study?
Wayne W. Duffett
Fees paid by other sewer users benefit private firm
Well, here we go again: public costs versus private profits. The "free market capitalists" love public investments that generate private gains!
The errors in Portland's sewer billing fiasco are just the latest example. Did Shipyard benefit, and profit? Probably. Let's see the tax returns. Did all the other sewer rate payers help pay for those profits? Yes. Where is the equitable balance of those inadvertent benefits and costs?
Just as the railroads, utilities, oil producers and airlines, among others, have benefited from various subsidies and write-offs, so has Shipyard Brewing by error -- while producing some wonderful beers -- avoided costs that were paid for by the other local sewer users.
Let's hope that some of the extra funds not spent on sewer user fees were shared among the wage earners employed by the brewery -- not all pocketed by those at the top.
William R. Laidley
Yes, progressives can also call themselves capitalists
The recent Another View by Gerald Caruso shows what you can do with words ("Rep. West was using shorthand, just like President Obama," April 17).
Mr. Caruso, struggling to deny any validity to progressivism, does not show that a person cannot be a capitalist and a progressive at the same time. If he isn't, he is in danger of being a fascist, a category Mr. Caruso didn't list, which would lead us to the enslavement of the masses.
Marriage vote raises issues of equality and authority
"How many years can some people exist, before they're allowed to be free?" -- Bob Dylan
Once again, Mainers find themselves presented with a referendum on marriage equality this November. We have voted to ensure that our fellow Mainers can marry and then denied them this right.
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