The East-West Corridor has been estimated to create a few hundred long-term jobs for Maine. The issue of existing jobs lost due to the project has never been broached and is not being evaluated in the State's feasibility study. A corridor highway running from Canada to Canada would siphon business away from local communities. Any development that might follow a super-highway---gas stations, strip malls, and transnational resource extraction businesses---would further harm traditional land-use jobs, including farming and logging, and devitalize existing rural town centers. We need to protect the local jobs we have and keep more money in Maine. The great strides made to promote regional identity for tourism and recreation---designated scenic byways and scenic towns and villages---would be for naught. If tourists use this corridor, they would bypass these towns, which would lose the economic boost of tourism. Many snowmobile routes could be cutoff, limiting traffic to rural communities that rely on this tourism. Visitors come to northern Maine to slow down and enjoy its beauty---not to speed through it.
Would property rights be respected?
The East-West Corridor has been referred to both as a "public- private partnership" or PPP and as a private project. If the project moves forward as a PPP, a confidentiality clause within Maine law prevents the public from accessing any information about the proposal until it is granted final approval by our Legislature. Additionally, with State involvement, eminent domain would be an option for land acquisition. Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that eminent domain can be used in the transfer of privately owned property to another private entity if the state determines such a transfer provides an economic benefit to the public good. The State of Maine feasibility study currently being conducted might provide the necessary documentation of public benefit to allow eminent domain.
How would the corridor affect Maine's wildlife and natural resources?
The corridor would seriously reduce if not halt the migration of animals---moose, deer, bear, coyote, lynx, and bobcat, to name a few. Normal travel routes and habitats would be altered permanently. In addition, the proposed corridor could forever damage trout and salmon habitat dependent upon aquifers across the Stud Mill Road---an area Mainers have been working to restore. All Mainers benefit from our large bodies of water and rivers being free from pollution, runoff, and degradation. Corridor construction would damage thousands of acres of sensitive wetlands and waterways. The extensive scope of the project has the potential to drain finite local gravel and loam resources for highway construction.
How would the corridor affect the communities it passes through?
Villages in the path of the project would be bisected. The route of the corridor is veiled in secrecy and landowners are living in fear that they would lose their property. Those who live near the corridor's route would suffer true and unrecoverable financial loss. They would not be able to sell for a fair price and they would not be compensated for plummeting property values.
We the citizens of Maine love the place we call home. Our sense of place is what defines us. When it's gone, it's gone forever.