JOB CREATION AND CLEAN WATER INFRASTRUCTURE BOND PASSES
Bill Creates or Supports 1,000 Jobs, Saves Maine Taxpayers Tens of Millions of Dollars and Won Broad Support From Both Parties, the Business Community, Sportsmen, Rural Advocates and Conservation Groups
AUGUSTA, Maine | April 18, 2014
Issued by the Clean Water and Safe Communities Coalition
A $10 million bond bill that will create or support 1,000 jobs, save Maine taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and trigger $25 million in federal matching funds passed the Maine Legislature with broad bipartisan support last night.
The Clean Water and Safe Communities Act (LD 1455) enjoys the backing of bipartisan legislative leaders and an uncommonly strong, effective and diverse group of membership organizations representing the business community, sportsmen and women, rural advocates and conservation groups from every part of Maine.
The legislation creates or supports 1,000 jobs by making important and necessary investments in Maine’s clean water infrastructure, including:
- Built Infrastructure, including stream crossings and culvert upgrades, ($5.4 million);
- Maine’s Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds to secure federal dollars to upgrade the state’s drinking water systems and wastewater treatment facilities ($4.2 million); and
- Natural Infrastructure, to restore wetlands for flood mitigation and wildlife habitat ($400,000).
Creates and Supports 1,000 Good Maine Jobs
“Maine’s water resources are critical assets that support our economy and quality of life. We can’t take for granted our water and all that relies on it.” said Rep. Jeff McCabe, Assistant Majority Leader D-Skowhegan, sponsor of LD1455. Rep Ken Fredette, Minority Leader, R-Newport added, “Putting Mainers to work is our top priority. This bond will make sound investments in creating and preserving jobs in areas like construction, tourism, fisheries and engineering to strengthen Maine’s long-term economic base and competitive advantage.”
A study by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Maine noted that this bond’s investment in nonresidential construction would add $119 million to Maine’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), $38.5 million to personal earnings and create or sustain 1,000 jobs.
“This work can help Maine in the long term by conserving our resources, but within months, this bond will begin to create jobs for the construction workers, environmental consultants and others who will be hired by these funds,” said AGC CEO Matthew Marks. “We are grateful to legislative leadership, members of the Appropriations Committee and the large, bipartisan group of lawmakers who voted for this legislation.”
Saves Maine Tens of Millions of Dollars
In addition to creating jobs right away, the Clean Water and Safe Communities Act also enjoys broad support because it chooses the most cost effective and fiscally responsible approach to a very costly issue Maine will have to deal with in coming years: improving our WWII era water infrastructure.
First and most directly, LD 1455 triggers $25 million in federal matching funds the State Revolving funds. No Maine Legislature or Governor has ever chosen to leave Maine’s share of federal water infrastructure matching funds in Washington for some other state to claim.
“This bill takes a practical and innovative approach to creating jobs and solving problems now, while also making sure that valuable resources like clean water and wildlife are safeguarded for future generations,” said Alex Mas, Director of Strategic Initiatives for The Nature Conservancy in Maine. “We are thankful for the work of our coalition partners and the support and hard work by a broad group of bipartisan lawmakers.”
Protects Maine’s Natural Habitats, Recreation Economy and Tourism Jobs
Recreation businesses, too, benefit from well-managed water resources – from fishing guides to boat manufacturers, small campgrounds to large outfitters, coalition members said. That is why the bill enjoyed broad support from organizations representing rural Maine and sportsmen and women from all over the state.
“Protecting habitat for native brook trout, waterfowl and other species that drive Maine’s outdoor recreation economy and attract millions of tourists is tremendously important for our state,” said David Trahan, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
“Clean drinking water and great recreational opportunities make Maine attractive to businesses and to families, and protecting these resources now has clear economic benefit,” said Dana Connors, President of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce.
The bond plan now goes to the Governor for his consideration. If signed into law the bond would be put on this November’s ballot for voter approval.
The Clean Water and Safe Communities Coalition includes:
Associated General Contractors of Maine
Maine State Chamber of Commerce
Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine
Northern Maine Development Commission
Maine Rural Water Association
Maine Municipal Association
Maine Water Utilities Association
American Council of Engineering Companies of Maine
The Nature Conservancy
Southern Maine Regional Water Council
Maine Wastewater Control Associations
Maine Lakes Society
Environmental Priorities Coalition
Conservation Law Foundation
Maine Coast Heritage Trust
Androscoggin Land Trust
Bangor Land Trust
Kennebec Estuary Land Trust
York Land Trust and others.
Learn more at www.cleanwatermaine.org
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at www.nature.org. To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit www.nature.org/global. To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.