Finally- a bright spot for all Mainers this session; our roads, bridges and transportation network now have a long-term funding source
This is Representative Wayne Parry of Arundel with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.
In a time of unprecedented surpluses, House Republicans have offered several proposals to help make life easier for Mainers by reforming our tax system so that workers and their families can keep more of what they earn to address rising costs.
Rather than give 650,000 taxpayers an average yearly benefit of $338 proposed by Republicans, Democrats ended the legislative session 3-months early to exclude them from the traditionally bipartisan budget process.
Unfortunately, opportunities for bipartisanship have been few and far between this session.
Although I am disappointed that money has not been returned to taxpayers, I am happy to report one major achievement that resulted from bipartisanship.
After years of underfunding our roads, bridges and transportation network, then asking voters to borrow money every two years, the Legislature agreed on a dedicated, stable funding source going forward.
I strongly believe that the best legislative solutions almost always result from Republicans and Democrats working together to benefit all Maine people.
For years, the Legislature has neglected funding for Maine’s large, aging, and crumbling transportation network.
Typically, after all available general fund money has been allocated and/or, the Legislature sends a $100 million transportation bond proposal to voters for approval. Voters then approve it because of the need and the fact that it will draw matching federal funds.
Funding has not been enough to keep up with the needs of our aging transportation network because of a heavy reliance on the gas tax.
Funding from the gas tax has not kept pace due to the increased fuel efficiency of gas powered vehicles and the increasing number of electric vehicles that do not pay gas taxes.
Republicans have long advocated for allocating vehicle sales tax money to fund transportation needs instead of continually asking voters to borrow money. I floated a similar idea a decade ago and have continued to push for it.
This session, Republicans and Democrats worked together on a long-term solution that was signed by Governor Mills. LD 259, with a key Republican funding amendment, follows overwhelming support from Maine’s House and Senate.
The new law creates a sustainable source of funding for the Highway Fund by dedicating 40 percent of the 5.5 percent sales tax on vehicle purchases and 40 percent of sales and use taxes collected by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. It is expected to generate more than $200 million for infrastructure repair per biennium.
This is a good first step to fully fund our transportation system.
In a time when our politics is increasingly polarized, the best results usually result from Democrats and Republicans working together to find solutions.
Because Republicans were included in negotiations over the Highway Budget, tangible results were achieved.
A steady, predictable source of funding for Maine’s transportation network will benefit all of us, since every part of Maine life depends on it.
This has been Representative Wayne Parry with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.
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