An Acadia Center report says modernizing the state’s transportation system alone could produce more than $3.8 billion in new economic benefits, add 8,700 new jobs, and create $2.3 billion in public health and other benefits.
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Clean-energy advocacy group Acadia Center released a report on in mid-December, dubbed the "Memo to the Next Governor of Maine," that claims modernizing the state's transportation system alone could produce more than $3.8 billion in new economic benefits, add 8,700 new jobs, and create $2.3 billion in public health and other benefits.
Daniel Sosland, president of Acadia Center, noted in a statement that his group's transportation reform suggestions are part of a broader five-point strategy aimed at helping Maine overhaul both its transportation and energy sectors. Those recommendations include:
- Modernizing transportation infrastructure to improve safety, access and convenience;
- Transitioning to cheaper, cleaner, and more resilient local power generation sources;
- Improving the energy performance in buildings to reduce costly energy use and emissions;
- Reforming energy grid rules to reduce energy costs and speed energy innovation;
- Giving communities and consumers more control over their energy choices.
The Acadia Center's specific transportation sector proposals are encompassed in a 30-page white paper that is cemented to a greenhouse gas "cap-and-trade" system that it believes could generate $1.38 billion for Maine between 2019 and 2030 via the "auctioning" of air emission credits.
The group said that money would not only help fund road repairs but also help the state encourage a broad "transition" to electric vehicles.
"Governor-elect Mills has indicated that advancing the clean energy future and enhancing community resilience are top priorities, and Acadia Center's recommended reforms lay out a roadmap that promises concrete benefits for all Mainers," noted Kathleen Meil, Acadia Center's policy advocate in Maine, in a statement.
"These key steps will fix roads and bridges, move the state away from its dependence on oil and gas, and increase accessibility of jobs and services — all while reducing emissions, increasing energy independence, and boosting local industries," she added.