The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) held its annual spring meeting in Portland, Maine, during the week of May 22. More than 450 of the nation's top transportation officials, including commissioners/cabinet secretaries of transportation, chief engineers and policy staff from 46 states gathered to discuss the latest in industry policies and innovations.
David Bernhardt, MaineDOT commissioner, is currently serving as the president of AASHTO. One key area Bernhardt is focusing on during his term as president is educating the public on how transportation is a major economic driver.
“Transportation matters as much as all other factors when developing the national economy,” said Bernhardt. “We have made strategic transportation investments at MaineDOT that make this truth visible and apparent.”
An example is the state of Maine's continued commitment to freight infrastructure investments as a means of driving economic growth. Investments such as $60 million in the International Marine Terminal (IMT) in Portland and $37 million in rail infrastructure throughout rural Maine have stimulated new activity on three railroads. Those same investments at the IMT lured Icelandic shipping company Eimskip to call on the Port of Portland, and growth in container shipping has increased 20 percent year over year, opening up more and more opportunities for business throughout Maine.
“MaineDOT has been a great host of our AASHTO spring meeting,” said Bud Wright, executive director of AASHTO. “We have had such a positive experience here in Portland, and our meetings have brought a productive energy to our continued efforts to support transportation as the backbone of a sound national economy.”
MaineDOT produced a video, #Transportation Matters, about growing a vibrant and sustainable economy, which was debuted at the AASHTO board of directors meeting. You can view the video here: www.maineports.com
AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the 50 states, the Districts of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It represents all five transportation modes; air, highways, public transportation, rail and water. Its primary goal is to foster the development, operation and maintenance of an integrated national transportation system. AASHTO works to educate the public and key state and federal decision makers about the critical role that transportation plays in securing a good quality of life and a sound economy for our nation.