AUGUSTA — Democratic Gov. Janet Mills wants to use $100 million from the budget surplus for transportation projects, meaning voters won’t be asked to approve transportation bonds for the first time in eight years.

If approved, that money would largely support 2023 projects, with $1.3 billion coming to Maine over five years as part of the infrastructure deal approved by Congress last year.

This money is unlikely to be a long-term solution, however, the Bangor Daily News reported.

The transportation department’s three-year work plan notes the state is reviewing long-term goals and may have to make adjustments. A rise in construction costs and workforce challenges could make projects much more expensive, for example.

“By next year, the fog currently surrounding these variables should clear, and we expect to be able to provide a better estimate of unmet need,” said Nina Fisher, a deputy Maine transportation commissioner.

The surplus money would provide some certainty for the transportation industry and contractors, said Maria Fuentes, executive director of the Maine Better Transportation Association.

But the state is always going to need to put up money to match federal dollars if it wants support for infrastructure projects, she said.

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