Maine Department of Transportation released its 2012 construction numbers last week, which showed the department completed more miles of improvement than expected while doing so millions of dollars under budget.
MaineDOT originally projected to spend $214 million in 2012 to complete 889 miles of highway paving and reconstruction, bridge construction, and repair work. However, through efficiency and excellent project bids from a variety of contractors, the department reported 927 miles of improvements and spending about $198 million, which amounts to a $16 million taxpayer savings.
"The savings we were able to achieve is a complete win-win for the residents of Maine," said MaineDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt in a statement. "Governor LePage has tasked us to look for ways to not only stretch the dollar, but to do it in a way that benefits the taxpayer, the business owner, and the economic vitality of this state. We continue to move the needle in a positive direction."
MaineDOT referenced several large transportation projects that improved the quality of life for Maine citizens, including as the completion of the $65 million Veterans Bridge over the Fore River in Portland, the rehabilitation of 12 bridges on I-295, and the $38 million expansion of the Downeaster passenger train service (see related story: bit.ly/AJdowneaster). While coming up with the funding for these projects isn't easy, Bernhardt says there are ways to do it if state DOTs can think outside the box.
"While every state's transportation needs will always exceed available funding, creative solutions, forward thinking, and innovative practices make the challenge exciting for the future of transportation in Maine," Bernhardt said.