There had to be a third party with some credibility to handle this study in order to give it some credence. Like them or not, MDOT does know their stuff, so, who better to do it?
As for the legislature committing the $300K, I would consider that a good faith offering to ensure that they (the legislature) wouldn't gut the proposal like so many before them have.
I for one do not believe there had to be a third party involved . I would have had no problem w/ DOT doing it themselves ,updating past studies,
which is apparently going to happen anyway.
They could have done it very easily w/ a financial order transferring the money w/in department.
The third party study would and will end up in opposing minds seen just like MTA studies on projects, think York Toll !
I suppose if I had been proposing this study ,an independent one, that would have been a reasonable direction to go in with pluses politically for sure.
In the end how much credence does this have at the moment ?
The previous studies? Anyone got a link to them? What did they conclude?
Of course you need a third party study.
Not just to waste our money, but also to allow our representatives to blame for the outcome.
Yes, I've read the other studies, no I'm not convinced it's worth it.
Thank you Traci g- for putting them up.
I just sent them off to the family/ friends.
I couldn't find them again.
After a brief look at them I do not see them applying totally to this idea i.e. private vs. public which the other studies assumed.
I would assume close to 15 years in age is a factor also.
Other than the, "private vs. public " part.
The roads don't seem to be that far off.
Still a good read.
East-west highway concerns larger than eminent domain
... (W)hen Sen. Doug Thomas asked me to support his bill for a comprehensive feasibility project for the study, I supported it because I thought he had done his homework and this was something communities throughout rural Maine were supportive of. It’s clear to me now that he didn’t and I shouldn’t have supported the measure.
I am pleased that Gov. Paul LePage has agreed to pause the study, but frankly, we should just cancel it.
BDN Op-Ed By Rep. Herbie Clark
While some of his arguments may be valid, others don't make much sense. The whole concept of the study was to find out if it was economically feasible. If it isn't, no one - including Cianbro - is going to build it. How much "homework" is needed to suggest such a study is debatable.
While there is some truth too what Rep. Clark has said in this op ed there are two words that stand out above all else, "my opponent" !
The most glaring omission , is an admission , that Rep. Clark could have done all if not more investigation of the issue than he accuses his opponent of not doing .
AFter all he talked with all those [people who were dis enfranchised by I95!
Part of that investigation might identify where the opposition was going to come from ,look up all liberal democratic enviro. wack groups, etc..
In this entire fiasco of rumor innuendo and mythical sightings of bull dozers coming over horizon I have seen no one who can say where they got their information.
This has been like the old game of taking a room full of school kids telling the first in front corner left a story and having the last one rear corner repeat it .
But all this would have put to much on the table evidently for Rep. Clark.
As for the rest of the other Maine.
I for one was in opposition to the use of the money, in the way it was done. First and foremost it could have been done w/out the leg. action which was nothing but political butt covering if things went south,they did !
Rep. Clark you voted for it you own that vote unless you can prove Sen. Thomas in some way threatened you into it ,it is yours.
It is to late to attempt undo that vote w/ a cheep political shot at your opponent via the BDN. Willing accomplishes I am sure.
But given it passed whatever the questions, it was supposed to answer ,still remains unanswered.
If Rep. Clark had been paying attention it is quite obvious that the study is still going to be done by DOT as the Gov. said.
If he wants to do something to redeem himself he should submit legislation to de authorize the appropriation if it hasn't been spent and reallocate it to
a school program somewhere.
Do the study is the answer.
P.S. Rep. Clark good bet it would be wise to not run out of firewood this winter and call a certain company to help you!
........" I would have had no problem w/ DOT doing it themselves ,updating past studies"........
Bruce, the main problem I have with MDOT doing a study of this proposal is due to the fact that MDOT is directly under the control of its "political masters" in the Legislature, and would be seen by many as biased because of it! I believe that any study of this that would have a chance to be "unbiased" must be done by outside sources with no connection to MDOT or the promoters of same. As far as I know only one bidder surfaced, and that was the same folks who did this before. I cannot understand that either as there are lots of engineering firms around the USA who could easily do this study. Maybe no one worked to hard to find them!
Sen Thomas response to my question:
........."I chose this route because I don't think eminent domain should be used for private projects period. This is needs to be looked at highway or no highway"........
There is currently a major electric transmission line under construction, through Pittsfield and many other parts of Maine. According to a friend who is a realtor in Newport, eminent domain was used for this, and was "contentious" at times, as it often is used for utility projects, including natural gas pipelines and so on.
Do you mean that you are opposed to ALL uses of "eminent domain" in this state, by any and all "privately owned" companies?
While I certainly agree that further study of this was desperately needed, some of us are a bit confused over the "constitutional ammendment" route that you have chosen. It seems to me that the Constitutional Ammendment idea is a rather cumbersome and time-consuming way to go about this. It appears to me that it would be much easier, and simpler, to modify the language in the "public private partnership" laws, in title 23, that include eminent domain as usable for "transportation" projects in Maine, that would be built under this series of statutes.
Language is routinely added/deleted/modified in state law in every legislative session. It would seem to me that this would be the simplest and quickest way to deal with the issue, and not affect utility projects at all, as I have questioned above.
Forgive me for being a cynic but it appears that some in elected positions were becoming concerned about the upcoming election and suddenly "got religion" so to speak. But it also appears that perhaps this particular method was chosen simply because it would pacify (most) of the oppostion (hopefully) yet not do any real damage to the future of this corridor project. Somehow it seems to me that the "ammendment" process may have been deliberately chosen.......to just buy some time.
I think that many Maine citizens are confused by many issues surrounding this "corridor project proposal" and you are correct in suggesting a deeper look at it, which is what I have suggested right along. The fact that Mainers know so little about this is due exactly to the fact that the promoters of the project have been way less than forthright with vital information that people should have the right to know, and that the promoters have contradicted themselves in print, repeatedly. It seems hard for them to remember today what they said yeserday. All of this seeming "misdirection" creates opposition to the proposal.
There are those who say that the "public private" partnership laws in Title 23 pertain, particulary, to the proposed Wiscasset bypass. Yet there is NOT one word in those statutes that suggests that at all, in fact MDOT sources admit that the language in Title 23 could apply to any "transportation project" that was built in Maine, as a public private partnership. Sen McDonald, LD 1639's main sponsor, even stated in his testimony that he "thanked Cianbro" for writing the bill. I believe this was no coincidence. In my corner of the state, this particular fact raises "grave suspicions" about the whole idea.
Why is a private entity developing "language" for some proposed statutes, if they don't have some stake, down the road, in the outcome of same? I can tell you for sure the fact that Mr Vigues company was involved, closely, in the creation of this particualar legislation, has bought the whole "corridor proposal" a huge amount of grief and has cost it much of its credibility in may corners of this state. This particularly onerous way of making laws, has created vast amount of suspicion about the entire proposal. Removal of these statutes, would gain an immense amount of "new credibility" for one serious about the project, who wishes to truly calm the electorate.
Lets scrap the "public private partnership" laws, in Title 23, that will get rid of any worries about use of "eminent domain" for this particular project, and should be easily and quickly done with just an up or down vote, and then lets all start all over with a fresh piece of paper.
Why do you think your way is better than what I have suggested?
Herbi's constituents and friends in the Millinocket area, as well as the new Great Northern Company may not agree with his flip-flopping on this issue.
It would seem to be a very convenient route to take to get to the deepwater port at Eastport with product from their new bio-coal venture.
Especially in light of the fact that anything comparable on Sears Island will probably never be built.
No study is going to be unbiased just because it is a feasibility study!
Actually for those who say the study would be the document to attract investors then the DOT study of a private proposal
would be just as unbiased as a private contractor IMHO.
If one eliminates ED and the Public Private thing it does not determine feasibility totally , still need to answer the question.
In my last post on this topic I pondered "why" the constitutional ammendment process, as proposed by Sen Thomas, as opposed to a simple up or down vote on the public private partnership statutes, specifically Title 23 Section 4251. No one in any position has cared to respond so I guess I have to answer my own question.
It appears that the politicians and promoters of this project forgot a basic lesson of modern politicis. They failed to sell an idea to the people......before shoving it through the legislature! The public private legislation, Cianbro and the promoters, wrote for themselves in 2010 with no public notice and no public input would allow the highway to proceed quietly behind the scenes under its broad provisons which would keep the public completely out and allow for the possbility of eminent domain, public guarantees, use of public roads, expedited permitting etc!
They smugly rammed this legislation through, sans any public debate, feeling that "we the people" would be so grateful that we would eventually honor their wisdom. Now that us peons out here have made our oppostion clear, especially with November elections ahead, they are running for cover and trying to save their "political lives". Anyone with a reasonable mind can look at how this was done, and see why it has blown up in their faces!
But this is a new age. Everyone has a computer now and information, that is publically available to assault the promoters grand ballyhoo, is just a keystroke away, and opponents of such a plan can organize and spread information very quickly, so quickly that it overwhelms those used to doing business in "back rooms" and "behind the scenes".
Several previous studies, readily available on the MDOT website totally refute the claim that this proposed road would "revitalize northern Maine. On the other hand it suggested, in two different studies, that there would be little to no economic benefit.......and possibly economic harm as traffic was attracted away from existing economic corridors.
MDOT East West Highway studies
So we are left with an angry populace, especially around where I live south of Dover Foxcroft, and the major politicial supporters of this monstrosity, are running for political cover, trying to save their political careers from being flushed in November, by folks who didn't buy the idea.....after legislation had already been put into place to build it.
So what to do?
The statutes in Title 23 Section 4251, that would allow eminent domain to be used for this project or any other similar to it, were put into law, in the dark of the night, so called, as this was not publicized nor was any input from the general public solicited. This law should be axed by the legislature, right away. This would readily remove the "eminent domain" provisions, as desired by Sen Thomas, in the simplest, quickest and easiest way possible, much quicker and easier than a "constitutional ammendment" a long drawn out process. Those seriously wanting to take a further look, and start over with a clean slate, need to demonstrate this "seriousness" by actually "doing something" rather that just talk about it in hopes the voters will forget all of their anger at this proposal......within a couple of months.
I believe this section of statutes should be removed, asap, and will not vote to put anyone in the leislature who does not think that idea makes a lot of sense...at this point in time.
With 75 days to go until the election and a special session being rumored for the legislature, any such session may have a very limited agenda. Of course all the special interests are going to want extended public testimony opportunities. It is unlikely that any large number of bills will be placed on the docket.
Answer to problem: Do the study see if it answer questions and then corrective action if needed.
So Bruce, complete a feasibility study, and if it determines the road isn't feasible, take action to make it feasible? The why do a study at all?
Who here thinks this feasibility study will be accepted by both sides, regardless of the outcome, and that the issue will forever be decided by a state-funded feasibliity study? (Besides Bruce)
Doesn't matter if both sides don;t agree with the study as long as the investors are comfortable with it.
Sure it matters. You think opponents to this road are going to walk away without a fight if the investors decide to go all-in?
No. I don't expect anything different because their minds appear to be made up.
The study is more for the benefit of the investors.
Nothing will happen without them.
Will the supporters of the highway project walk away if the study says it isn't feasible? Or will they seek out another opinion if the state-sponsored study doesn't convince enough investors?
There again, why would they support it if the investors won't?
The problem is that everybody is looking at this as another government project and making decisions that reflect that misconception.
It's privately funded.
Not public/private, as some are trying to prove.
P R I V A T E !
No Bob not at all. My corrective action was meant to address the P&P and ED concerns. Even during the study if leg. if needed or attempted.
Like you I disagreed with the original funding scheme. However, given the past studies which counted on public funding , and are in access of 12 years old,go ahead and do it.
Tailor it to require answers to the questions reference those two major concerns.
It is apparent to me that the only thing slowed down is the bid for an outside vendor to do it ! I do not believe it is stopped from comments by gov..
If we are going to worry about what government does and how it does it, as a taxpayer since that $300,000 dollars isn't going to be used for its' appropriated purpose I think that also is wrong.
Actually it is probably moot in the end because obviously they low balled the fiqure for a consultant group to do it ,no takers!
In this economy does it seem a little funny that there weren't takers chomping at bit to get job?
It's not a private venture until my tax dollars say go/no go. And if it's no go, I'm out my tax dollars forever.
Call that $300k a good faith contrtibution from the one entity that can stop this project in it's tracks.
This project has to make economic sense. It's not government with their bottomless pockets that is funding it for the various and sundry reasons that governments spend other people's money.
Investors will make money on this, or it won't get done.
Bob that is an absolute undeniable fact.
Yet some are in a dither because a sup. wrote a political criticism on a tax payer funded computer!!!
Investors could invest, and still lose their money. They do it every day.
The Dulles Greenway in Virginia is a privately built, privately operated toll road that also uses EZPass for toll collections. EZPass in Virginia is owned by the State DOT, and the money is shared in a fashion. Even with that private toll road, the State gets a cut (and they also get property taxes from the owners of the road.
When they are insolvent, private businesses go bankrupt.
When government loses money, they dig a little deeper.......into yours and my pocket.
Or they seek bankruptcy protection and wind up cutting their losses and carrying on with their business, often times at the expense of their creditors.
I'd like to throw in that not everyone has their mind made up.
I'm not seeing this as another government program/ project, it's a business venture- I hope.
I just see benefits to another country.
And very little to we who will have to live with this thing everyday.
How about "John Doe in Dover" has a farm that this thing runs down the side of.
Or Jane Doe who now lives next to an over pass.
Maybe it cuts though a chunk of woods that Timmy Jones hunts.
(Actually, looks like it may for me.)
How do they benefit from this?
Their affecting a lot of lives with this and claiming the greater good.
Well prove it.
Yes, I may be a NIMBY for now.
I would be more on the other side, if I could grasp this "revitalization of northern Maine" thing they keep spouting.
I just don't see it.
And by the way, I still can't see everyone selling.
I think getting investors would be a lot easier, than getting people to live next to this thing.
If it were to cut though/ or down the side of my property, I would do what I could to sell all of it now.
Good luck with that, in this economy.