View original article by Jym St. Pierre on Maine Environmental News
A bill intended to slow down, if not stop, the East-West highway and utility corridor proposed by Cianbro corporation executives has been passed by both houses of the Maine Legislature.
The original bill, LD 1168, would have prohibited the use of eminent domain for the development, operation, management, ownership, leasing or maintenance of a transportation facility as a public-private partnership project. It also would have prohibited the use of eminent domain by a private business entity involved in a public-private partnership.
Grassroots activists, led by the Stop the East-West Corridor (STEWC), have been working for legislation to better regulate potential public-private partnership transportation projects. They negotiated a compromise with the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) to clarify language in state statute that stipulates public-private partnership projects must comply with the Maine’s Sensible Transportation Policy Act.
According to Chris Buchanan, Statewide Coordinator of STEWC, “This bill closes previously unaddressed loopholes and shortcomings in our law that became apparent when the East-West Corridor proposal came to the table.”
On Friday, June 12, the Maine House gave its final blessing to the bill. On Monday, June 15, the Maine Senate concurred.
Even though MDOT under the LePage Administration supports the bill, Gov. Paul LePage is expected to veto it just because he can.