LEWISTON – Lewiston and Auburn already share some consolidated services, but Gov. Paul LePage wants them to go further. He wants them to merge into one city straddling the Androscoggin River.

LePage made the comment Wednesday when he met Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonte and Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald at Simones’ Hot Dog Stand, a landmark in Lewiston.

The Sun Journal reported that LePage told the mayors that the combined city could become “the next economic engine” and the “next Portland” with a population of 150,000 within five years. LePage also offered to come back and meet with city councilors on both sides of the Androscoggin River to discuss the issue.

Macdonald said he supports the idea. LaBonte, who’s an adviser to LePage, voiced some reservations. Both were re-elected in November and December.

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