It has been 10 years since Maine policymakers established a comprehensive plan to modernize Maine’s roads, highways, and bridges, and provided a framework for major changes to transportation funding, but the state has little to show for those efforts. Maine’s annual funding gap has led to deteriorating roadways that cost the average Maine driver an extra $460 per year for repairs, while vehicle operation, congestion delays, and crashes cost the state $1 billion annually. The transportation sector also presents dangerous threats to the climate and to public health.
Vehicles account for about 40 percent of carbon emissions in Maine, and in 2015, passenger vehicle emissions were responsible for $500 million in health costs in the state. Progress is long overdue, and newly elected Governor Mills has identified clean transportation as a first-term priority. One important next step for Maine is to join the other TCI states that are working together to design a regional cap-and-invest program that reduces harmful pollution and delivers much-needed improvements to the state’s transportation options.