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Maine Voters to Consider $60M Bond, Most Targeting TBED

May 02, 2003

Maine Governor John Baldacci got nearly everything he wanted in a bond proposal to encourage technology-based economic development (TBED). The Maine legislature shaved $10 million from the Governor's original request before passing the bond on to Maine voters for consideration at a special referendum June 10. The bond proposal includes:

  • $20 million would re-capitalize the Maine Biomedical Research Fund, managed by the Department of Economic and Community Development. A four-to-one non-state leverage is anticipated from the state's investment to support capital infrastructure and equipment. Gov. Baldacci had wanted $25 million for the fund.
  • $3 million to design and construct the Gulf of Maine Research Laboratory to partner with the fishing community on marine research to protect and enhance the commercial fishery of the Gulf of Maine; to partner with the marine biotechnology industry to undertake marine biotechnology research; and to develop and make available an innovative marine sciences education hall focused on middle and secondary school students and the general public.
  • $2 million for infrastructure improvements at four advanced technology development centers: the Center for Environmental Enterprise; the Thomas M. Teague Biotechnology Park; the River Valley Technology Center; and the Greenville composite technology center facility.
  • $2 million for the Maine Farms for the Future Program. An additional $1 million will go toward infrastructure needs at the University of Maine agricultural research farms.
  • $1 million for a Marine Infrastructure and Technology Fund; one-to-one match from non-state funds is required.
  • $6 million for the Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center at the University of Maine to expand research facilities for engineered wood composite structures.
  • $3 million for educational technology improvements in the University of Maine system.
  • $3.6 million for R&D activities at the university system through the Maine Economic Improvement Fund, which will be used to match federal, foundation and private funds.
  • $4.4 million to finish and equip an expansion of the research wing of the science building on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine.

An additional $6 million will recapitalize the Municipal Investment Trust Fund to provide grants and loans to municipalities for public facilities and infrastructure, and $8 million, $5 million less than the Governor requested, will go toward housing projects.

Maine voters have looked favorably on several R&D-related bond issues in the past, most recently a $35 million bond issue last summer.

A copy of the bond proposal legislation, LD 1566, is available at: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/billtexts/LD156602-1.asp