Five bond proposals totaling nearly $150 million will appear Tuesday on Maine's ballot. The bond questions are the only items on the statewide ballot this year, and some say that could lead to particularly low voter turnout. But supporters of the borrowing proposals say it's critical that Maine voters get to the polls to approve the bonds, which will go toward updating and improving the state's roads, bridges and armories as well as facilities at community colleges and universities.
Here's a look at the five bonds in the order they'll appear on the ballot and the projects they're intended to support.
— ARMORIES: $14 million would go toward maintaining, repairing and improving Maine Army National Guard centers. Army National Guard says the centers desperately need things like new fire alarms, sprinkler systems and lighting systems. About $3 million of the bond would go toward buying training land in Maine. The guard says it currently has to send units out of state to get trained.
— UNIVERSITIES: State universities would get $15.5 million to upgrade classrooms and labs for science, technology, engineering and math programs. All seven University of Maine System campuses would benefit. UMaine at Augusta would get $1.2 million to upgrade science and nursing labs, while the University of Southern Maine would get $4 million for lab renovation. University officials say the projects funded by the bond will also create badly needed construction jobs.
— ROADS, BRIDGES AND PORTS: The largest bond on the ballot is $100 million for Maine's roads, bridges and ports. About $76 million is being set aside for roads and bridges for maintenance and improvements. About $24 million would go toward things like ports and passenger rails.
— MAINE MARITIME ACADEMY: Maine's academy in Castine that focuses on marine-related programs would receive $4.5 million to build a new science facility.
— COMMUNITY COLLEGES: $15.5 million would go toward the state's community college facilities, which officials say need to be upgraded and expanded to allow more students to enroll. At Central Maine Community College, $2.35 million would go toward a new building to add science labs, classrooms and offices, while York Community College would get $3.4 million to build a new 17,000-square-foot building for classrooms, computer labs and offices.