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$50M Tech Fund Makes Cut for Maine Bond Package

April 09, 2007

A $295 million three-part bond referendum package passed by the Maine State Legislature last week includes a number of components central to the state’s TBED strategy, including funds to support continued development of the state’s research enterprise, expanded broadband access and increased rural/economic development financing.


The largest TBED item provides $50 million for the Maine Technology Fund to support research, development, and commercialization efforts of Maine-based public and private entities. The funds are limited to the state’s targeted fields of biotechnology, marine technology, composite materials, environmental technology, forestry and agriculture, information technology, and precision manufacturing.


Additionally, the package includes $48.5 million for improvements at the University of Maine and the state community college system and $2 million for revitalizing downtowns and expanding access to digital resources through the New Century Community Program.


Several revolving loan funds also will be replenished with a combined pool of $6.5 million, including the Maine Maritime Academy and School Revolving Loan Fund, the FAME Economic Development Revolving Loan and the Rural Development Fund, the Regional Development Loan Program, and the Agriculture Marketing Loan Fund.


The bond measures will be put to the voters as three separate items with the first $131.4 million offering focused primarily on transportation issues being considered in June. The $134 million November installment includes the TBED, education, cultural, and traditional economic development elements described above. The final measure will be on the June 2008 ballot and will address $29 million for more transportation projects.