LD 67
Session - 126th Maine Legislature
LR 344
Item 1
Bill Tracking, Additional Documents Chamber Status

An Act To Strengthen Collaboration in the Transfer of Responsibilities for State and State Aid Highways

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 23 MRSA §754, sub-§1,  as amended by PL 2011, c. 652, §2 and affected by §14, is further amended to read:

1. Jurisdiction.   Except as otherwise provided, all state and state aid highways within compact areas of urban compact municipalities, as defined in subsection 2, as determined by the department must be maintained in good repair condition by the town in which the highways are located at the expense of the town. Municipalities must be notified one year in advance of changes in compact or built-up sections that place additional maintenance responsibilities on the municipalities. Municipalities may waive the requirement of the one-year notice. When any town neglects to maintain the highways within 14 days after notice given its municipal officers by the department, the department may proceed to make necessary repairs to that way, which must be paid for by the State and the cost for the repairs must be withheld from funds due the town under the Local Road Assistance Program, established in chapter 19, subchapter 6. The amounts collected from these towns must be added to the fund for maintenance of state and state aid highways.

Sec. 2. 23 MRSA §754, sub-§3,  as amended by PL 2007, c. 417, §1, is further amended to read:

3. Transfer of state or state aid highway.   When the responsibility for maintenance of a section of state or state aid highway is to be transferred to a municipality as a result of population growth, as determined using the decennial United States census, or the municipality meets the definition of a compact or built-up section under section 2, and when the municipality is not eligible to opt out of summer maintenance pursuant to subsection 2, paragraph C, the department shall prepare a capital and maintenance plan to ensure that the section of state or state aid highway is in good repair condition at the time of transfer. The plan must be developed in consultation with the affected municipality. For the purpose of this subsection, "good repair" means actions intended to reasonably avoid nonroutine maintenance activities for a minimum of 10 years and includes consideration of ditching, culverts, major structural defects and pavement condition ratings of 3.3 or higher as determined by the department.

Prior to meeting with the affected municipality to discuss the transfer, the department shall provide the municipality with:

A Survey and layout plans pertaining to the section of state or state aid highway to be transferred;
B Maintenance records for the 15 years prior to the meeting;
C Information on improvement projects for the section of state or state aid highway being implemented or planned for implementation, including funding sources; and
D All legal documentation establishing ownership of the section of state or state aid highway.

After providing the required materials, the department shall develop in collaboration with the affected municipality a memorandum of understanding detailing the improvements necessary to bring the road into good condition. In case of a dispute over the necessary improvements, either party may engage the resolution process provided in subsection 5. Unless otherwise addressed in the memorandum of understanding, transfer of responsibility occurs 24 months after all improvements are completed.

Sec. 3. 23 MRSA §754, sub-§4  is enacted to read:

4 Good condition.   For purposes of this section, "good condition" means all improvements necessary to avoid capital and nonroutine maintenance activities for a minimum of 10 years. Improvements must address, but are not limited to, pavement condition ratings of 3.3 or higher, horizontal alignment, vertical alignment, sight distance, roadside clearance zones, guardrails, utilities, signs, striping, rights of way, sidewalks, intersections, shoulders, culverts, closed drainage systems, minor spans, bridges and high-crash locations.

Sec. 4. 23 MRSA §754, sub-§5  is enacted to read:

5 Dispute resolution process.   A 3-member review board must be created each time a dispute between the State and a local government arises as a result of the state and state aid highway transfer process. The board consists of one member appointed by the department, one member appointed by an organization representing municipal government and one road construction or engineering industry professional jointly appointed by the department and the municipal appointee. The department shall establish by rule the procedures governing the dispute resolution process, including, without limitation:
A The process for filing a dispute for resolution;
B The dispute resolution procedures; and
C The time frame within which disputes are to be resolved.

Final decisions of a review board represent final agency action. Rules adopted pursuant to this subsection are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.


This bill amends the existing urban compact road transfer process by requiring the Department of Transportation to work collaboratively with the affected municipality to ensure that a section of state or state aid highway transferred to a municipality for maintenance responsibilities is in good condition. In addition to outlining the information and documents that must be provided to the affected municipality, the bill provides a more detailed definition of "good condition" and creates a dispute resolution process to address contested issues.

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