page last modified June 20, 2015   236624.

Legislative action

For 2015 - The 127th Maine Legislature

Stop the East-West Corridor (STEWC) had two goals for the 127th legislative session: Prevent eminent domain from being used by a private entity and eliminate unsolicited proposals from the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) law. It was successful in that LD 1168 was passed; unfortunately LD 506 was defeated in committee.

Here is information on those bills:

  1. LD 506 (formerly LR 1705 and LR 1740), An Act to Improve Public-Private Transportation Partnerships. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Ralph Chapman (D-Brooksville) and co-sponsored by Sen. Paul Davis (R-Piscataquis).
    Concept: LD 506 completely eliminates unsolicited proposals from the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) Law and explicitly states that the Public-Private-Partnership Law for Transportation Projects, must be consistent with the Maine Sensible Transportation Policy Act. (Download: DOT Subchapter 5 Public-Private Partnerships)
    Download: Talking Points on LD 506
    Download: How to take action on LD 506.
    Watch video: Hearing of Transportation Committee on LD 506, March 26, 2015.
    Latest: LD 506 was unanimously defeated in the Transportation Committee..

  2. LD 1168, An Act to Prohibit the Delegation of Eminent Domain Power to Private Entities, sponsored by Sen. Paul Davis (R-Piscataquis)
    Update: LD 1168 was amended to a) clarify language in the P3 law that states that the P3 must be in accordance with the Sensible Transportation Policy Act (section 73); b) ask for legislative review and authorization of a P3 proposal at both the draft and final stages; and c) clarify that the department's powers of eminent domain may not be conferred to a private entity (but could conceivably still allow it to use the power on behalf of a private entity). Download: Amended LD 1168. See also Action Alert at Defending Water for Life in Maine.
    Concept: LD 1168 prevents eminent domain from being used by a private entity by amending the Public-Private-Partnership for Transportation Projects Law, and the law that restricts eminent domain use.
    Talking points:
    • Eminent domain is an important tool for State and Local Government to have in order to promote the health, safety, and welfare of its residents; however, eminent domain is a serious power that overrides individual property rights in favor of community rights. Therefore, State and Local Government Entities should use eminent domain only as a last resort, for vetted transportation projects that can be demonstrated to be in the public's best interest.
    • The law must be clear and the law must reflect that the public interest is the priority interest of concern to State and Local Government when exercising eminent domain power for transportation projects.
    • Maine’s farmland and fresh water must be protected. Everyone needs good food and water to live a healthy life. The growth rate of Maine's young farmers is much higher than anywhere else in the country, 40% versus 1.5%. Maine farmers shouldn't feel threatened by private entities to give up their livelihoods and future food security. We need to support multi-generational farms and the next generation of farmers as much as possible. New transportation infrastructure development increases risks to water quality, and is likely to result in fragmentation of farmland and wildlife habitat.
    • Additional protection from eminent domain for transportation projects will help maintain regional stability. When a private entity can access the power of eminent domain for a private transportation project, or unsolicited public-private-partnership for a transportation project, as we have learned through experience with the East-West Corridor proposal, many members of the public experience needless trauma, declined economic activity and real estate sales (also known as condemnation blight), and even flight from the region.
    • This bill closes previously unaddressed loopholes and shortcomings in our law that became apparent when the East-West Corridor proposal came to the table. These are lessons that stretch well beyond the East-West Corridor proposal.
    Download: Guidelines for Testimony before the Judiciary Committee
    Download: Talking points on LD 1168.
    See also An Act to Clarify Laws Governing Eminent Domain, Chapter 579, from the 122nd Maine Legislature (Download Chapter 579)
    Watch video: Hearing of Judiciary Committee on LD 1168, April 30, 2015.
  3. Watch video: Hearing of the Judiciary Committee on LD 1168, May 19, 2015.
    Latest: LD 1168 passed both the House (June 12) and Senate (June 15). It had been unanimously voted "Ought to Pass" by the Judiciary Committee (June 4)

We believe that these bills will attract a very broad coalition of bipartisan support statewide. The East-West Corridor issue raised awareness of shortcomings in our law that must be addressed to protect life, liberty, and property for all Mainers into the future. These bills are for all of us.
See also Maine Voices: The real road to nowhere would be the east-west corridor (special op-ed by Chris Buchanan for the Portland Press Herald).

If you want to actively help with legislation and be receiving detailed legislative updates, this summary sheet will be useful.

See also Maine Legislature Calendar and Action page.

Download: contact information for members of Transportation Committee.

Download: contact information for members of the Judiciary Committee.


Results from 2014's legislative actions

Of the many bills relevant to the East-West Corridor, two were adopted, both improving the climate under which the Corridor project proceeds. One was a rescinding of $300,000 in public funds authorized last year to conduct a financial feasibility study of the project. The other, LD 721, allows the public to have more information about how the project may proceed. So far, everything about the Corridor---its route, its financing, its investors, its environmental effects, even its purpose---has been obfuscated by Cianbro, and such secrecy cannot be allowed to continue.


Bangor Daily News, June 18, 2013.
Senators disagree over resolution creating government oversight of east-west highway (About Resolution HP1134 Joint resolution concerning a proposed East-West Highway). This bill increases transparency for the project building the corridor if it is pursued as a “public-private partnership.” Information on the project would otherwise have been kept secret from the public.

Maine highway study law repeal voted [, May 22, 2013] The Maine Senate has given final approval to a bill that repeals a requirement for a feasibility study on the proposed east-west highway.

See also National Resources Council of Maine page summarizing legislative action affecting Maine's environment. Articles and TV and radio spots about the legislature's activities can be seen in the pages for News Articles and TV/Radio.

We, the citizens of Maine, love the place we call home. Our sense of place is what defines us. When it's gone, it's gone forever.