Agreement Signed Formalizing Plan for Aroostook County Highway Projects

Agreement Signed Formalizing Plan for Aroostook County Highway Projects

AUGUSTA, ME – March 12, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Governor John E. Baldacci announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalize the process by which specific transportation projects in Caribou and Presque Isle will be completed. The MOU was signed by the Governor, Maine Department of Transportation Commission David Cole and the managers of the cities of Caribou and Presque Isle.

Last Wednesday, the Governor conducted a meeting with the Aroostook County legislative delegation, Maine Department of Transportation, and town officials and civic leaders from Houlton, Fort Kent, Caribou and Presque Isle. The Governor sought an agreement to advance pieces of the Aroostook County Transportation Study.

As a result of the agreement, the previously tied Caribou Connector and Presque Isle Bypass Segments are now stand-alone projects. The Caribou project is moving forward, with construction beginning in 2010. The Presque Isle project will continue, but on a different timeline.

The Governor had directed the Maine Department of Transportation to draw up an agreement between parties to formalize the consensus reached last Wednesday.

Under the agreement, MaineDOT will expedite the construction of the Caribou Connector in the 2010 construction season utilizing existing resources obtained by the State’s Congressional Delegation. The two segments within the Caribou Connector are estimated to cost $20 million.

MaineDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) received an alignment approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Sept. 18, 2008, regarding the Caribou segment, but are still awaiting a similar approval from the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the Presque Isle Bypass Segment. The work on the Presque Isle Segment will continue unabated, and the planning work is expected to be complete by the 2011 construction season.

To accomplish this, MaineDOT is working with the Federal Highway Administration to separate the Caribou and Presque Isle projects in the current study. Current federal High Priority Project funding will be used for the Caribou project.

The Caribou Connector Alternative is available for viewing online in the following document on Page 4-7 and is identified as Alternative 4B:

http://www.vhb.com/aroostook/pdfs/Caribou-ConnectorPhaseIICompleteFINALwsignatureslowres.pdf

The text of the agreement signed by the Governor, Commissioner Cole and the city managers of Caribou and Presque Isle follows.

Memorandum of Agreement Between the State of Maine Department of Transportation, City of Caribou and the City of Presque Isle Regarding the Aroostook County Transportation Study Proposed Caribou Connector Project

Whereas, Governor John E. Baldacci has directed the MaineDOT to advance an Aroostook County transportation project so that construction on the proposed Caribou Connector project can begin in 2010; and

Whereas, On September 18, 2008, MaineDOT and the Federal Highway Administration received an alignment approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the Caribou Connector;

Now therefore, Governor John E. Baldacci, MaineDoT, the City of Caribou and the City of Presque Isle, agree to the following:

• All parties will support a Reevaluation Document to be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration that requests the separation of the Caribou and Presque Isle segment of the North-South Highway Study; and

• MaineDOT will expedite construction of the Caribou Connector in the 2010 construction season utilizing existing resources obtained by the State’s Congressional Delegation; and

• work on the Presque Isle Segment will continue unabated, with the planning work expected to be complete by the 2011 construction season.

____________________________ ____________________________ John E. Baldacci, Governor David Cole, Commissioner State of Maine Maine Department of Transportation

____________________________ ____________________________ Steven Buck Thomas Stevens, City Manager City of Caribou City of Presque Isle

Signed March 6, 2009

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