Sec. T-1. Highway system classification simplification study. The Department of Transportation, referred to in this section as "the department," working in cooperation with representatives of the Maine Municipal Association, the Maine Chapter of the American Public Works Association, the Maine Better Transportation Association, the Associated General Contractors of Maine and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Maine shall study the current systems for classification of public highways and related responsibilities to determine whether they can or should be simplified in ways that improve customer service, improve investment decisions, apply standards appropriate to the road, leverage the ability to deliver improvements at a lower cost and generally result in the most overall benefit to the most travelers for each dollar spent.
In conducting the study the department shall analyze the following issues:
1. Whether the State and federal highway classification systems can and should be reduced to one, or otherwise simplified;
2. Whether the State should transition over time to a system as used in other states in which the State would have full year-round responsibilities, including capital responsibilities and winter and summer maintenance of certain highways and minor spans, and local governments would have full year-round responsibilities, including capital responsibilities and winter and summer maintenance of other highways and related minor spans;
3. Whether urban and rural classification systems and related responsibilities can or should be simplified to ensure that sections of highway with similar urban development patterns are treated equally with respect to capital and maintenance responsibilities. This analysis may include whether to create 2 systems of urban classification with a common definition that reflects both federal criteria and sustained density of development, regardless of population or town boundaries;
4. The design and construction standards and processes that should apply to each road classification;
5. An assessment of transition impacts, including the cost and time required to bring highways to a consistent and appropriate standard prior to the shift to full year-round responsibilities, operational estimates for both the department and local government including equipment needs and the potential assignment of existing snow removal contracts;
6. Other fiscal matters including possible adjustments to the Urban-Rural Initiative Program or other revenue sharing opportunities, possible adjustments to the Rural Road Initiative, innovative financing tools for local governments such as expanded use of the TransCap Trust Fund at the Maine Municipal Bond Bank or the state infrastructure bank and incentives for coordinated corridor based highway improvements involving multiple municipalities and other possible regionalization incentives;
7. Whether route numbering or signs, or both, should be revised so as to improve customer service;
8. Related administrative matters, including a fair and open mechanism to request, change and appeal decisions to reclassify highways; and
9. Related issues.
Sec. T-2. Report. The Department of Transportation shall report the results of the study under section 1 to the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation by January 15, 2010. The Joint Standing Committee on Transportation is authorized to submit legislation during the Second Regular Session of the 124th Legislature.