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This is Governor John Baldacci.

The spring of 2007 seems like a long time ago, but some of the decisions made by the Legislature and validated by you, the Maine voters are paying dividends for communities across the State.

This week, my administration announced some of the investments being made as part of those bonds that were passed last year.

Acting with the best interest of Maine, more than two-thirds of the Legislature – Democrats and Republicans – coming together to support a $295 million investment package.

When asked, voters broadly agreed that it is worthwhile to make long-term investments in Maine’s economy and Maine’s people.

Already, highway bonds have been put to work improving the roads and bridges that carry our goods and people and connect our economy to markets across the country and around the world.

Already, the bonds are helping to make our water cleaner and helping our communities grow.

We’re better able to build schools, preserve important open space and natural resources, and protect those things that make Maine special.

This week we can add to the list of worthy projects.

As part of the bond package, voters approved $1.5 million for the Municipal Investment Trust Fund.

This week, communities began to see the results.

In Greenville, $350,000 will be used to revitalize the wharf and replace the existing boat launch with a new one that can handle two boats at a time.

In Biddeford, $350,000 will help to redevelop the Riverdam Mill into a combination of new businesses and mixed-income housing. The investment will help to restore part of Biddeford’s legacy, while creating new jobs and much needed housing.

A grant directed toward Brunswick will support the Maine Street Station, a vital transportation hub that will help open the mid-coast to expanded rail service that was approved earlier this year and provide an important link to ground transportation.

The investment will also allow for growth of new businesses and new homes along those lines and conveniently locate near mass transit.

In Bucksport, we’re assisting with the redevelopment of the historic Jed Prouty Tavern & Inn, and in Dover-Foxcroft we’re supporting the Center Theater to create economic sustainability in that region.

So, we are helping businesses grow and opportunities to be established next door.

In Bath and Rockland we are seeing the benefits from investments in new sidewalks and parking, improved lighting and better access to local attractions.

The Municipal Investment Trust Fund is helping communities make improvements that otherwise might not be possible.

The investments are creating new jobs and new opportunities for Maine people.

But more importantly, the projects demonstrate that Maine people understand the necessity of long-term capital strategic investments.

We’re helping to support a strong public-private partnership, at the same time filling needs for workforce housing, improved access to mass transit, increased public safety and enhanced natural resources.

These are the investments that will help Maine maintain its special qualities and character – the things we love best about our home.

Our unique downtowns, our environment, our open spaces, our heritage and our people.

The dollars that are invested today multiply many times over as communities see the benefits of increased economic activity and new jobs.

Too often, important programs like the Municipal Investment Trust Fund become entangled in politics.

It’s unnecessary and counterproductive. Fortunately, Maine voters have consistently shown that they understand the long-term benefits of strategic investments in our State.

In a few weeks, we’ll be announcing the recipients of the research and development grants approved by Maine voters.

Those awards will help to drive innovation in private sector companies growing private sector jobs, providing better opportunities – more opportunities – for Maine people.

Some of our State’s best minds have been competing for those grants that are going to help to turn their great ideas into businesses for opportunities for Maine workers.

So when I hear and see great things happening in Maine, I’m so encouraged, as all of you are.

I know it is Maine people, Maine entrepreneurs and forward-thinking community leaders leading the way toward a bright future.

So with these advances and working together, we can make sure that the future is bright for our children and grandchildren.

Thank you and have a great weekend.

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