Transportation Infrastructure for Economic Development Transportation Infrastructure for Economic Development

Aroostook County Strategic Investments

Implementation of the Air Service Redevelopment Plan.

Airport officials and MaineDOT are working towards the increased marketing of the airport and the services provided.  There has been a concerted effort to obtain regional jet service that could potentially open other hub cities for fliers in the region.  A recent study indicated that approximately 10 percent of the enplanements at Bangor International Airport were from residents of Aroostook County.  Being able to attract these fliers back to PQI may make it more attractive to a regional carrier that provides jet service.  Airport officials are working with the present carrier to examine pricing and service issues.

Downtown Revitalization

 In downtowns served by corridors of regional importance, town officials working with state and federal groups will work to improve the walkability, increase public transit, and apply for revitalization funding.  This will maintain the viability of the downtown and help reduce sprawl. 

Extend Bus Service to St. John Valley

Working with the Aroostook Regional Transportation Systems (ARTS) and Cyr Bus Lines, develop a feasibility study to extend passenger bus service from Caribou to Fort Kent, Frenchville, Madawaska, and Van Buren.  This service will provide riders from the St. John valley the opportunity to meet the early morning and late bus in Caribou.  It is also expected that once a feasibility study is completed, it will be implemented by the MaineDOT and service providers.  This project is expected to increase ridership from the St. John Valley.

Designation of southern portion of Western Aroostook corridor as a State Scenic By-way

Designation of portions of Route 11, 212, and 159 as State Scenic By-way.  This is also known as the Kathadin Loop project which has ties to Baxter State Park.  It is expected that this project would increase tourism to the region.

Improve North/ South mobility to include completion of projects listed in the ACTS EIS

The most specific alignments are located in the central Aroostook area with no specific north-south corridor from the St. John Valley to I-95 being identified at this time.  According to MaineDOT, it could take decades to design, acquire permits, and secure funding to build a new 90-100 mile corridor with the potential for many things to change during that time frame that would require a new EIS be developed.  MaineDOT plans to phase construction of a new North-South corridor during the time period. 

Projects listed include by-passes around the downtown Presque Isle and Caribou, corridor management planning on US Route 1, and potential new intersections on the Maysville Road.

Reconstruct Portions of Gateway to Aroostook Corridor

Construct sections of Route 2, and 2-A, to State standards.  Sections include portions of Routes 2 and 2-A in Houlton, 

Upgrade of State of Maine Rail System

Upgrade of system from present 25 mph to allow for higher speed traffic and improve access to intermodal facility in Presque Isle.  Areas in need of major infrastructure improvements include but are not limited to Frenchville, Madawaska, Fort Kent, Mapleton, Sherman, Patten, and Smyrna.  It is anticipated that this projected would increase the use of rail service in the region and promote the viability of the intermodal facility in Presque isle.

Improve access to Maine's seaports

Support for construction projects (rail road and bridge infrastructure) that improves access to Maine's seaports from northern Maine.  This investment is directed towards Searsport and Eastport, northern Maine’s closest deepwater ports.

Service Roads in Houlton

North Street in Houlton is also a segment of Route 1 and is classified by MaineDOT as a retrograde arterial. This classification requires that additional measures be taken improve the safe flow of traffic as new development occurs, and the Town desires to encourage development utilizing existing side streets and access roads whenever possible to help meet that mandate. There are over 400 acres suitable for development, with over 200 acres situated in the federally designated Aroostook County Empowerment Zone.

Tax increment financing will allow Houlton to play an important role in the process of business development by creating a mechanism to expedite a return on the upfront costs of real property improvements, as well as defraying costs associated with public infrastructure upgrades to serve those facilities, including public water and sewer, utility service installations, and access management for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. 

New Commercial Port of Entry in St. John Valley

Provide funding and technical support to initiate an Environmental Impact Statement for the development of a new international bridge and Commercial Port of Entry in St. John Valley.  The target area is located between Fort Kent and Van Buren and would provide connections to the Trans Canada Highway.  This project also has potential positive impacts to the intermodal facility in Presque Isle.

Implementation of Houlton Airport Master Plan

 The following capital investments are needed at the Houlton international Airport.  These projects will be included in the town’s Capital Investment Plan and provided to the MaineDOT as municipal solicitations for their Capital Work Plan are requested.

Upgrade Route 161

Construct portions of Route 161 from New Canada to Allagash so that it can accommodate heavy truck traffic.  Route 161 from Fort Kent to Allagash is in poor condition and presently no projects are included in any of the Capital Work Plans.  Projects would include widening, shoulders, reconstruction, and drainage improvements in strategic locations. 

Route 10 Reconstruction

Development and funding for construction projects in Presque Isle and Easton that upgrade Route 10 to accommodate longer and heavier truck traffic

Turning radii issues in Presque Isle

Development and funding of construction projects along Route 1 in Presque Isle at State Street, Academy Street, and Route 163 that allow for efficient traffic flow

Passing and travel lanes on Route 11

Construct passing and travel lanes on Route 11 in strategic locations.  Areas identified for potential projects include T14 R6, Portage Lake, Moro Plantation, Hersey, and Mount Chase.

Upgrade all multi-season multi use trail crossing

Construct all trail crossings on Routes 1, 161, and 11 in such a manner as they reduce long-term maintenance costs, improve safety, and provide the user with pertinent information as to location.  This is expected to increase tourism throughout the region.