letter to the editor

MDOT's Option 2 carries too big a price tag

Posted:  Monday, December 11, 2017 - 3:30pm

Dear Editor:

Wiscasset citizens concerned about the cost of the town’s lawsuit against MDOT would be better served by focusing on the price tag for MDOT’s flawed Option 2. Not only would the project cost Maine taxpayers $5 million and improve traffic flow by just 2-4 percent more than the less destructive Option 1 (according to MDOT), it would also cast a shadow over Wiscasset’s economic future.

Removing storefront parking hurts business — MDOT knows that; when they did this in Orono, businesses suffered. Some Wiscasset businesses have said they will leave town if storefront parking disappears. That translates to higher taxes for the rest of us.

The Haggett building was generating $8,100 in annual taxes before MDOT took the building through eminent domain. Tax revenue from the parking lot they want to put there? Zero. And we’d lose a piece of Wiscasset history. Historic architecture attracts people and dollars.

Wiscasset taxpayers would pay for snow removal, landscaping, and maintaining the niceties that made Option 2 look pretty before the 2016 vote. We’d have to shoulder those costs every year till kingdom come.

If our vibrant village withers because Main Street becomes a pass-through, every one of us in Wiscasset will pay higher taxes. Let the lawsuit move forward. The board of selectmen is defending home rule, taxpayers, small businesses, and state law. MDOT should come back to the table and revisit Option 1.

Anne Leslie