Gridlocked Maine Panel Could Punt Transportation Funding Fix

A commission looking to solve Maine’s persistent transportation funding shortfall broke down in a Feb. 11 hearing, with frustrated members saying it should punt its work to 2021 — or to voters — amid differences over budget transfers and the gas tax.

The Maine Legislature and Gov. Janet Mills formed the blue-ribbon commission that has been tasked with bridging the shortfall for road and bridge maintenance, which is estimated at $232 million annually even with $100 million in annual, voter-approved borrowing factored in.

Members of the bipartisan commission, which includes trucking and construction interests, have agreed on a goal of finding $160 million more a year for the system with the idea that federal dollars would make up the rest. They have not firmly agreed on much else.