Voters backed two state ballot questions Tuesday, providing funds for road and bridge repairs, and providing people with disabilities a way to still endorse citizen petitions without having to physically sign.
With the majority of precincts reporting, voters were overwhelmingly in favor of Question 1, which authorizes $105 million in bonds for transportation improvements. The margin of approval was nearly 3 to 1.
According to a news release from the office of Gov. Janet Mills, roughly $85 million will go toward fixing roads and bridges, another $15 million will help upgrade ports, rail and airport facilities; another $4 million is earmarked for municipal culverts, and $1 million is for renovations at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute Bulkhead. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, the state funds will be used to match an estimated $137 million in federal and other funding.
“We are one of the most rural states and we have the most dispersed population in the country, which makes maintaining our infrastructure both challenging and critically important,” Mills said in the news release. “This is not a partisan issue. We don’t drive on Democratic or Republican roads, but our roads are in dire need of repair and reconstruction.”
The second referendum question earned even greater support than the first; with the majority of precincts reporting, the margin was nearly 4 to 1. That measure establishes a constitutional amendment that will provide disabled voters the use of alternative methods to sign citizen-initiated petitions. An alternative signature can be placed via a signature stamp, or by another registered Maine voter who signs for the person both in their presence and at their instruction.
In other election news, Kate Snyder defeated incumbent Ethan Strimling in a late-night runoff in the Portland mayor’s race.
Snyder, a former school board chair, is executive director of the Foundation for Portland Public Schools, which raises private funding to help support education.
In Lewiston, former City Council member Mark Cayer was elected mayor. He told the Sun Journal he had received congratulations from Mills.
“She assured me that the Governor’s Office will do everything they can to assist me and get our economic development going here in Lewiston,” Cayer said. “On Day One, I’m going to focus on economic development and supporting our local businesses and entrepreneurs.”