LD 1365
Session - 126th Maine Legislature
LR 1806
Item 1
Bill Tracking, Additional Documents Chamber Status

An Act To Promote New Models of Mobility and Access to Transportation

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

Sec. 1. 5 MRSA §12004-I, sub-§82-A  is enacted to read:

Transportation: Public Transit Maine Public Transit Advisory Council Not authorized 23 MRSA §4209-A

Sec. 2. 23 MRSA §4204,  as enacted by PL 1971, c. 593, §16, is amended to read:

§ 4204. Declaration of policy

It is declared to be the policy of the State of Maine that adequate, safe and efficient transportation facilities and services are essential to the economic growth of the State and the well-being of its people and that the planning and development of such facilities and services shall must be coordinated by a state department of transportation with overall responsibility for balanced transportation policy and planning.

In each fiscal year, a portion of the funding available for transportation must be dedicated to public transportation.

Sec. 3. 23 MRSA §4209, sub-§1,  as amended by PL 2009, c. 130, §1, is further amended to read:

1. Geographic regions.   The Department of Transportation department shall divide the State into a number of geographic regions for regional distribution of state-administered transportation funds. Upon designation of the geographic regions, a regional public transportation agency must be selected from each region to formulate a biennial regional operations plan. Selection of regional public transportation agencies must be by the Department of Transportation department in collaboration with the committee council established in subsection 1-A section 4209-A. The Department of Transportation department shall establish a schedule for submittal of the biennial regional operations plan and shall reference these plans in its the department's biennial transportation improvement plan submitted to the Legislature for transit under subsection 2-A. For purposes of this section, "public transportation" means the transportation of persons, including groups of the general public with special needs, by all means available to the general public.

Sec. 4. 23 MRSA §4209, sub-§1-A,  as enacted by PL 2009, c. 130, §2, is repealed.

Sec. 5. 23 MRSA §4209, sub-§1-B  is enacted to read:

1-B Goals and duties; public transportation.   In addition to implementing the policy stated under the Sensible Transportation Policy Act, the goals and duties of the department relating to public transportation are:
A To make maximum use of available federal funds for the support of public transportation; and
B To support the maintenance of existing public transportation services and the creation of new services, including the following goals:

(1) Provision for basic mobility for people who are dependent on public transportation;

(2) Access to employment, including creation of on-demand services;

(3) Congestion mitigation to preserve air quality and the sustainability of the highway network;

(4) Advancement of economic development objectives, including services for workers and visitors that support the travel and tourism industry; and

(5) Provision of state operating support funds in agency operating budgets to the extent that funds are available.

Sec. 6. 23 MRSA §4209, sub-§2,  as amended by PL 2009, c. 130, §3, is further amended to read:

2. Biennial regional operations plan.   The biennial regional operations plan submitted by each regional public transportation agency must provide for the following:
A. Maximum feasible coordination of funds among all state agencies that sponsor transportation in the region;
B. Development and maintenance of a permanent and effective public transportation system, with particular regard to riders who are low-income or elderly or who have disabilities;
C. Participation of private transit operators in the service, to the greatest extent possible;
D. Conformity with general operations requirements as may be prescribed by the commissioner; and
E. Compliance with any appropriate federal regulations, including but not limited to the federally required locally coordinated plan.

In years in which no biennial plan is required, amendments to the effective operations may be submitted. Approval of each regional operations plan must be by the Department of Transportation department in collaboration with the committee council established under section 4209-A. Upon approval, all agencies, groups or organizations named to participate in the provision of service in accordance with a regional operations plan are eligible to receive funds administered by the Department of Transportation department and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Sec. 7. 23 MRSA §4209, sub-§§2-A and 2-B  are enacted to read:

2-A Department biennial operations plan for transit.   To provide a foundation for financial stability and reliability in the provision of transportation services to the public, the department shall, in cooperation with the council established under section 4209-A, establish short-term and long-term fiscal, operating and capital investment plans to support the goals established in this section. The department shall incorporate ongoing planning into its biennial operations plan for transit, which must be submitted to the Legislature no later than December 31st of each odd-numbered year. The development of the department biennial operations plan for transit must include:
A Consultation with the council established under section 4209-A, public transit providers and regional public transportation agencies to ensure the integration of transit planning with the Sensible Transportation Policy Act;
B An inventory of transportation resources and programs, including state, regional and local public transit as well as volunteer, nonprofit and private programs and fixed route and on-demand transportation options available;
C An assessment of public transportation needs throughout the State, identifying the types and scope of services that are inadequate and any geographic areas of the State where key services are deficient, including the potential cost of providing those services;
D A prioritized list of both short-term and long-term public transportation needs, goals and objectives with consideration of the needs for regional service and local service;
E An assessment of any deficiencies in regional planning and implementation capacity and whether additional or alternative organization models may aid in achieving the goals under this section; and
F Identification of incentives for regional transportation agencies within regional transportation districts as designated and certified by the department to facilitate planning and advocacy for new services and to enhance communication and information sharing within each regional transportation district and across the State.
2-B Plan implementation; projects.   To implement the biennial operations plan for transit under subsection 2-A, the department shall:
A Create and adapt models for community and regional transportation projects that:

(1) Connect volunteer, shared ride including the Regional Ride Share Services Matching Fund Program under Title 10, chapter 216 and on-demand services; and

(2) Serve a wide constituency of seniors, people with disabilities, workers, students and people without reliable or affordable transportation; and

B Link regional transportation agencies within regional transportation districts as designated by the department by, without limitation:

(1) Determining whether fixed route, flexible route or on-demand services are viable in the community or region;

(2) Marketing connections between fixed route, volunteer and on-demand services within and between regions;

(3) Maximizing connectivity with fixed route train and bus services from outlying areas;

(4) Connecting fixed routes in different regions of the State with each other;

(5) Expanding shared ride options through technology;

(6) Involving health care providers and other service providers in contributing to payment for services;

(7) Coordinating with existing private services; and

(8) Integrating MaineCare to the extent possible and other state and federally supported services with unsubsidized services to create a more efficient system of public transportation services for all residents regardless of income.

Sec. 8. 23 MRSA §4209, sub-§3,  as amended by PL 1991, c. 859, §1, is further amended to read:

3. State assistance.   Within the limits of available funding, the department shall provide assistance as follows:
A. Planning and technical assistance, information transfer, capital and operations planning, performance monitoring and evaluation, quality assurance, accounting, assistance with management information systems and service reporting to a regional operations plan drafter or transportation provider and securing of provider compliance with the requirements of other state agencies in these areas;
A-1. Act as mediator and, if necessary, final arbiter of disputes between state agencies and transportation providers regarding service;
A-2. In consultation with the Bureau of Insurance, advise transportation providers regarding the liability of volunteer drivers;
B. Capital assistance to transportation providers for up to 100% of the nonfederal share required by federal assistance programs;
C. Operating assistance to transportation providers in an amount up to 1/2 of the operating deficit incurred in fulfillment of the biennial regional operations plan; and
D. Notwithstanding any other provision of law and except as funds are necessary to carry out the object of this section, funds appropriated for public transportation shall not lapse at the end of a fiscal year, but shall be carried forward from year to year to be expended for the same purpose.

The department shall evaluate proposals for new public transit service submitted by providers in response to a notice of funding availability by requiring feasibility studies to be submitted by providers to address criteria set forth in the most recent biennial operations plan for transit as set out in subsection 2-A.

The department may enter into a request for proposals process for grants to nonprofit organizations for innovative regional projects that reflect the priorities in subsection 2-B, involve and integrate multiple service providers and modes of transportation and address service gaps identified as priorities in regional or state planning.

The department shall provide guidance, training, funding and technical assistance to transit systems in order to meet performance and service standards.

Sec. 9. 23 MRSA §4209, sub-§4,  as amended by PL 2009, c. 130, §4, is further amended to read:

4. Human services assistance; priorities.   The committee commissioner, the Commissioner of Health and Human Services and the Commissioner of Labor shall act to coordinate purchase of service contracts and . The council established under section 4209-A shall serve in an advisory capacity to the department , the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor in matters concerning public transportation. In the event that transportation funds for human services programs are insufficient for full implementation of the human services portion of an approved biennial regional operations plan, priorities established by the Department of Health and Human Services determine the priority clients that must be initially served by human services funds. Members of the committee The department, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor and their contractors shall actively engage local transportation providers in the planning of new services that are expected to have a transportation component.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor shall ensure that any new service to be provided is adequately funded to cover the costs of the transportation component of the program.

Sec. 10. 23 MRSA §4209-A  is enacted to read:

§ 4209-A Maine Public Transit Advisory Council

1 Purpose.   The Maine Public Transit Advisory Council, referred to in this section as "the council," is established in accordance with Title 5, section 12004-I, subsection 82-A to advise the Legislature and the department regarding strategic planning for public transportation services in the State and to fulfill duties under section 4209 and this section.
2 Membership.   The council has a minimum of 21 members as follows:
A The commissioner or the commissioner's designee;
B The Commissioner of Health and Human Services or the commissioner's designee;
C The Commissioner of Labor or the commissioner's designee;
D The Commissioner of Economic and Community Development or the commissioner's designee;
E One member of the Senate, appointed by the President of the Senate;
F One member of the House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House;
G One representative each from the federally designated planning organization for the Portland region, the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System, or a successor organization, and the federally designated planning organization for the Bangor region, the Bangor Area Comprehensive Transportation System, or a successor organization, appointed by the Governor;
H One representative each from the geographic regions designated by the department under section 4209, subsection 1, appointed by the Governor;
I One representative of private bus operators or taxi services, appointed by the Governor;
J One representative of a statewide, nonprofit organization advocating on behalf of the elderly and supporting social and economic resources that promote independence and self-sufficiency for the elderly, appointed by the Governor;
K One representative of a statewide association of planning and development agencies, appointed by the Governor;
L One representative of an organization representing people with disabilities, appointed by the Governor; and
M One representative of an organization representing low-income persons, appointed by the Governor.

Senators and members of the House of Representatives serve for the duration of the legislative terms that they are serving when appointed. All other members serve 3-year terms and may continue to serve beyond their terms until their successors are appointed. If a vacancy occurs before a term has expired, the vacancy must be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term by the authority who made the original appointment. If a member is absent for 2 consecutive meetings and has not been excused by the chair from either meeting, the council may remove the member by majority vote.

The council shall determine whether having more than 21 members would assist it in its work. If a majority of the council votes to request the appointment of additional members, the council shall specify the number of additional members needed and shall convey a request for the appointment of those additional members to the Governor, who shall make the appointments.

3 Meetings; chair.   The commissioner shall call the first meeting of the council by December 31, 2013. At the first meeting, the council shall select by majority vote a chair from among its members to serve a term of one year. A chair may be reelected to subsequent terms. The chair shall call subsequent meetings. The council may meet as often as funding permits, but must meet at least 4 times per year at a date, time and place determined by the council. The chair, in collaboration with the department, may call a special meeting to address an issue that, in the judgment of the chair, cannot wait until the next regularly scheduled meeting.
4 Notice of meetings; agenda.   At a reasonable time before a meeting of the council, the chair shall send a notice of the meeting to every member. A notice of meeting required under this subsection must contain the date, time, place and agenda of the meeting and the minutes of the previous meeting. Notice of a special meeting under subsection 3 must be sent under this subsection as expeditiously as possible.
5 Attendance at meetings.   A member of the council is expected to attend all meetings under subsection 3. If a member is unable to attend a meeting called under subsection 3, the member shall inform the chair. A member may attend a meeting under subsection 3 by participating remotely through the means of telephone or other telecommunications device if the facilities allow for such participation. The council shall endeavor to install means by which a member may participate remotely pursuant to this subsection.
6 Staff.   The department shall provide staffing assistance to the council.
7 Report.   The council shall develop an annual report on its deliberations and any recommendations for submission by February 15th annually to the Governor and the joint standing committees of the Legislature having jurisdiction over transportation matters and health and human services matters.

Sec. 11. Grants to nonprofit organizations. The department shall fund at least 3 projects as described by the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 23, section 4209, subsection 2-B in different geographic regions as defined by Title 23, section 4209, subsection 1 in fiscal year 2014-15.


This bill amends the Department of Transportation's biennial operations plan for transit process in order to promote and facilitate new models of mobility and service. The bill adds a declaration of policy to the public transportation administration law. The bill also provides components that must be included in the department's biennial operations plan for transit and describes how the department's plan for transit must be implemented.

The bill eliminates the Interagency Transportation Coordinating Committee and replaces it with a larger, more comprehensive Maine Public Transit Advisory Council. The role of the council is to advise the Legislature and the department regarding strategic planning for public transportation services in the State.

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