The six bond questions on the Nov. 4 ballot are all prudent investments that leverage federal and private funds into long-term investments that will benefit Mainers for decades.

Nowhere is that more true than in Question 6, which would help fund projects that will improve and protect the environment and create or maintain hundreds of jobs. For those reasons, voters should vote “yes” on Question 6.

Of the $10 million set aside in the bond, $2.4 million would be matched by $12 million in federal grants for work on wastewater treatment facilities. Another $1.8 million would bring in a $9 million federal match to provide loans for public drinking water systems.

Much of the infrastructure in Maine related to wastewater and drinking water is decades old, and the price tag for fixing it all will be high. Question 6 provides enough funding so that the state can receive the federal match this year to help replenish its revolving loan fund available to municipalities.

After this year, the state match will be provided by funding from the new state liquor contract. But until then, Question 6 helps the state move forward with these important projects.

In addition, $400,000 would help restore wetlands, and $5.4 million would be used to upgrade stream crossings and culverts, in order to improve fish passage and mitigate the impact of heavy storms.

There are thousands of culverts across Maine, of different shapes, sizes, materials and conditions. The state is in the process of creating resources for best practices in culvert and stream-crossing construction. It is estimated that it will take $14 million to $28 million to address the top-priority culverts, where the next heavy storm may wash out a road, or where fish species crucial to Maine’s inland ecosystem are having trouble passing. The funding in Question 6 will help turn this planning into a reality.

For the benefits to Maine water and critical habitats throughout the state, and for the construction jobs that come with the work, voters should approve Question 6.

QUESTION 3

Question 3 on the ballot would issue $12 million to two programs administered by the Finance Authority of Maine and designed to bolster small businesses. Both programs have a solid track record of encouraging growth and creating jobs, and voters should back them by voting “yes” on Question 3.

Of the total, $8 million would go to the Regional Economic Development Revolving Loan Program, which provides funds to regional economic development agencies to be loaned to small businesses in eligible sectors. According to backers of the bond issue, the $16.2 million shelled out in the history of the program has leveraged an additional $250 million in private and public financing while creating or sustaining 10,500 jobs.

The remaining $4 million would be used to back commercial loans, so that banks will lend to small businesses. FAME expects the money to leverage $68 million in lending to small businesses.

Small businesses are the heart of the Maine economy, and they need access to capital to grow and succeed. Question 3 would give them that access.

QUESTION 2

Ticks are moving farther south, and Lyme disease is a rising threat. The first case in Maine of a deadly disease borne by mosquitoes was recently confirmed. And there are a whole host of diseases that can cause great damage to the state’s agriculture industry.

To help guard against all those problems, voters should approve Question 2, which would provide $8 million to create an animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory at the University of Maine.

The lab would be the first in Maine with the ability to test ticks for Lyme and other communicable diseases, and it would allow the testing of mosquitoes, carriers of Eastern equine encephalitis and other pathogens, too.

The lab also would allow the state to better react to diseases affecting wild animals, such as moose, as well as livestock. And it will help the state head off plant diseases, such as the one that killed off millions of dollars worth of blueberries in 2009.

Maine needs to protect its natural resources, and voters can help by approving Question 2.