LD 2009 – An Act To Permit the Expansion of Municipal Membership of the Greater Portland Transit District

AUGUSTA – Speaker of the House Sara Gideon’s legislation, LD 2009 – An Act To Permit the Expansion of Municipal Membership of the Greater Portland Transit District, was signed by Governor Mills after passing unanimously in the House and the Senate. The bill supports the Breez, an express bus service connecting Brunswick, Freeport, Yarmouth and Portland, by allowing Brunswick to join the board of directors of the Greater Portland Transit District and provide financial support for the system. Without this legislation, Breez service to Brunswick could not continue.

“Growing public transit is critical for Maine. This measure to allow Brunswick to formally join Metro and continue linking Brunswick to its neighbors is just common sense,” said Speaker Gideon. “In connection with smarter land-use policies in our urban and suburban areas, strong public transit improves the quality of life for Mainers and lowers traffic volumes.” There will be no cost to the State associated with this change, which is supported by the Brunswick Town Council.

“A strong public transportation system is critical in Maine,” said Sen. Brownie Carson. “By connecting people with essential services and helping reduce carbon emissions, the highly popular METRO Breez service is vitally important to my constituents in Brunswick and Freeport. I thank my fellow lawmakers for supporting Speaker Gideon’s bill.”     

BACKGROUND:

In 2016, the Greater Portland Transit District (also known as “METRO”) launched the Metro Breez as a 3-year pilot project. Upon completion of the pilot in 2019, Metro and the municipalities concluded that the high ridership and strong community support made the Breez bus pilot a success and worthy of continued operation. The Town Councils of Brunswick, Freeport and Yarmouth all voted unanimously to continue local financial support for the service and formally join Falmouth, Portland and Westbrook on METRO’s Board of Directors. 

Under current law,  METRO may only accept applications for membership on the board from municipalities that are located wholly or partially within the PACTS region.

This bill authorizes the board of directors of the Greater Portland Transit District to accept applications for membership from municipalities that are contiguous to, as well as those located wholly or partially within, the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (also known as PACTS).