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Report: Road Conditions Cost Drivers In Maine's Urban Areas Half A Billion A Year

Robert F. Bukaty
Maine Public
A pothole on Route 302 in Fryeburg in March 2015.

The national nonprofit group TRIP released a report Thursday that says 44% of the state’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition, costing Maine drivers in urban locations approximately $563 million a year in vehicle operating costs.

Bangor City Manager Cathy Conlow says poor road conditions don’t just take a financial toll.

“It has an impact on, certainly on the growth and human condition in the city of Bangor and the region because we need to be able to have good jobs and move our products and we need to be able to do things,” she says.

Conlow says poor road conditions have been an issue for years, but it’s difficult to secure the necessary funding to fully address the problem.

Carolyn Kelly, who helped author the report, says the state shouldn’t shy away from the cost of fixing its roads.

“It may come with a large price tag in the short term to pay to fix and maintain and repair these roadways but that’s just a fraction of the cost that’s being passed on to drivers,” she says.

The report concludes that Maine also requires improvements in bridge infrastructure as well, but acknowledges that funding may be hard to come by as the pandemic takes a toll on gas taxes and federal funding remains stagnant.