Here in Maine, the weather is finally getting warmer, trees are budding, and wherever one travels in the state, one is bound to see orange construction cones and roadwork. Springtime means construction time – time to repair whatever damage Maine’s roads and bridges sustained after a long winter.

Over the next three years, almost $150 million in state funding is slated in the Maine Department of Transportation work plan for transportation projects around the state. These projects include major bridge rehabilitations and replacements, the paving of major roadways, investment in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, funding for bus and ferry transit and capital improvements and critical equipment upgrades at the International Marine Terminal.

In order to finance the three-year work plan, MaineDOT relies on bond funding. Unfortunately, this funding will be in jeopardy if the Legislature does not convene an emergency session to deal with unfinished business, including a $100 million transportation bond measure that needs to be on the ballot for voters to consider this coming November. Historically transportation bonds have been approved by large margins, garnering over 70 percent of the vote. Voters know that bonding to support transportation infrastructure is a smart investment in our economy – and one that provides thousands of jobs to Maine people.

What do Mainers stand to lose should the Legislature fail to pass the transportation bond proposal? First and foremost, desperately needed roadwork. MaineDOT would need to drastically reduce its three-year, $2.3 billion work plan by up to one-third. This means that we would all see far fewer highway construction and maintenance projects on state roads.

Critical bridge construction and rehabilitation projects would be reduced, resulting in the possibility of more bridge postings. Funding for airport, transit, rail and port projects would be drastically diminished, severely impeding Maine businesses’ access to both domestic and international markets and compromising Maine’s ability to stay competitive in the global economy. In addition, a major reduction in MaineDOT projects would take away hundreds of good-paying construction jobs across the state.

In Portland, the lack of a bond bill jeopardizes the scope, timing and existence of projects like the roundabout at the intersection of Deering and Brighton avenues and Falmouth Street, the Morrill’s Corner design project, the ramp improvements at Exit 6 of Interstate 295, the replacement of the Veranda Street overpass and numerous paving projects, including Cumberland and Forest avenues.

Several projects in the Portland area would be negatively affected if the Legislature fails to pass a transportation bond. Filling the gap in the Eastern Trail between Scarborough and South Portland would be in jeopardy. The Cousins Island bridge on the town line of Yarmouth and Freeport would not be reconstructed. Construction of the multi-use path on Broadway in South Portland would be delayed.

Several intersections in the region would not be addressed, including Route 25 in Gorham, the Cumberland Mills rotary intersection in Westbrook and the Bucknam Road-Interstate 295 signal in Falmouth. Last year in Old Orchard Beach, Cascade Road (Route 98) was repaved through the MaineDOT Municipal Partnership Initiative. Without the November transportation bond, that program will not be funded.

As managers, we are intimately aware of how important these projects are to residents and visitors alike, and how frustrating it can be to your daily lives to drive and ride on roads that need investment. The reality is that municipalities can’t keep up with local road infrastructure needs, let alone the needs of the state roads in our communities. We rely on our partnership with MaineDOT to get critical work done on roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure.

The maintenance and upgrade of our transportation network are crucial for a vibrant economy. Without the funding from a transportation bond, our entire economy will be at risk. We urge you to contact your state legislators and let them know how important these infrastructure improvements are. Tell them to take action now and give voters in November the chance to fund these critical transportation projects.