AUGUSTA, Maine (AP/NEWS CENTER) - Concerns about the rights of property owners led a state senator who pressed for an east-west highway feasibility study to slow things down.
Republican Doug Thomas of Ripley said Monday that he's asked Gov. Paul LePage to suspend the study until property owners' concerns can be addressed.
Thomas supports the proposal for an east-west toll highway promoted by the chairman of Cianbro Corp. but only if private land is not taken by eminent domain. He said there are also concerns about rights of way and other ways that the land could be used.
His new bill would change Maine's Constitution to prevent the state from taking property for private use through eminent domain. Changing the Constitution requires two-thirds approval by the Legislature and approval of voters through a referendum.
Cianbro CEO Pete Vigue sent a statement regarding Thomas's request. It says, in part, "If the legislature or the Maine Department of Transportation feels that they do not have enough information about the highway proposal at this time to move ahead toward a useful independent investment grade study, then we support putting off the study until the necessary information has been gathered."
Vigue also said that Cianbro would not use eminent domain to build the private highway.