Saturday, April 14, 2012

Highway To Nowhere

The Republicans in Maine like to call this the welfare state.  They make ridiculous claims that other states pay for bus tickets to send their welfare recipients here to help lessen their load, because Maine has no waiting period for benefits.  Well today the "welfare state" went corporate.  Governor LePage signed the East West Highway Bill today authorizing the feasibility study for a privately built and owned highway connecting the towns of Calais on the eastern border, and Colburn Gore on the western border.  The cost of this study is at $300k, but this is a chance that this could become more costly. 

When and if this highway is built the cost of the study will be repaid by the private entity that is going to build the highway.  So you ask, why would the state be interested in funding the study initially?  The answer is quite simple, eminent domain.  With the state funding this study it opens the door for the land to be obtained through eminent domain. They will be able to come in to towns along the route and snatch land for pennies on the dollar.

We have said this in a previous blog about this topic, but the real beneficiary of this project will be the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick..  The governor said he has been in communication with premiers of both New Brunswick and Quebec, which straddle the state, “and they’re very excited about this opportunity. It is good for commerce” between the United States and Canada, the governor said. In reality it's good for Commerce between Canadian provinces. They will be able to move their natural gas through Maine, instead of up around the top of the state and into the ports of New Brunswick.

So will taxpayers get caught paying for any of this? You better believe it.  With the increased traffic at the Corburn Gore crossing, that border station will need to be rebuilt costing tax payers.  The Road will have to be patrolled as well, most likely by State Troopers. Oh and then there is EMT/Rescue from towns along the highway that will need to respond to accidents.  What is the environmental impact of building a 220 mile highway?  That remains to be seen, but we hope we won't have to see it.  This highway will be crossing many of the major watersheds of the state, The Penobscot River, the Kennebec River and the Piscatiquis River are all in the direct line of this road.  These waters will become subject to increased salt, as the roads are treated in the winter.  Don't forget the garbage that will be flying around as well.  Lastly it will also be crossing a section of the Appalachian Trail.  We understand that many roads and highways cross the trail, but how many have pipelines and electrical conduits along with them?

In the end Maine is going to lose and lose big with this highway.  The communities along the route are going to suffer when families are kicked off the land they own, some of which has been family owned for generations. As more info comes out about this project, we will see more opposition to it. - Mr. Salty

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