State of Maine roads and bridges is ‘dire’

To the editor,

As a five-term member of the Maine Legislature’s Transportation Committee, I know firsthand that the state of our roads and bridges here in Maine is dire. The Maine Department of Transportation does the best it can with the limited resources they are afforded.

With the rising cost of labor and materials, MDOT is stuck in a perpetual crisis mode, constantly shifting resources to deal with the most dire infrastructure needs, leaving nothing left for investments in the future. As a result, Maine’s bridges have earned a C rating from the American Society of Engineers, who recently found that 13 percent are considered deficient.

When President Biden recently announced an infrastructure improvement package, I was initially hopeful. Upon closer examination, it is clear that the proposal is yet another bloated spending package with priorities that are all out of whack. For example, President Biden’s package allocates more money toward increasing America’s electric vehicle fleet than toward our roads, bridges, waterways, seaports and airports combined. It would only fund the reconstruction of roughly 20,000 miles of road in the entire country; Maine, alone, has more than 46,000 miles of roadway.

If Congress is serious about making a meaningful investment to improve our nation’s infrastructure (roads, bridges, broadband and water systems), new spending should be targeted to maximize its impact. President Biden’s plan fails in this regard. Thankfully, Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Transportation Subcommittee in the U.S. Senate, is skeptical of this package for all of the right reasons.

The Maine Department of Transportation could sure use some extra project funds, but our country cannot afford yet another inflated and unfocused spending package.

Rep. Wayne Parry

(R- Arundel)

Beach access ‘should be available to all’

To the editor,

The system of beach passes in Kennebunk has been unfair since it was instituted, and I applaud having a fresh look at the issue. Small changes for residents do not concern me. We’ve always had a good deal, and various proposals will make little difference to those of us who live here.

According to Post coverage of the issue, hotel passes of $50 would be eliminated. Does this mean that hotel guests would park for free? Or that they would have to pay $25 per day? The latter would certainly not be welcoming to tourists. But the fee I object to, not questioned at all in the Post article, is the non-resident cost of $25 per day, $100 per week, or $200 per season.

Imagine you are a resident of Sanford with two or three children and a moderate or low income. You live in southern Maine, but cannot afford to take your children to the beach during the summer. That to me is a shameful example of the gap between the rich and the poor. Fewer and fewer people can afford to buy a house in Kennebunk, but those lucky enough to live here get free or inexpensive parking passes for a natural resource that should be available to all.

I realize our taxes support beach access, but I suggest setting a more reasonable fee for Mainers who do not live in Kennebunk.

Vicki Adams