AUGUSTA – Transportation for the future was the theme for this years annual Maine Transportation Conference.
This conference brings close to 700 people to Augusta each year.
“It’s just a way for people to share information, collaborate and to see what’s working in other states and maybe what’s not working,” said Maria Fuentes, the executive director of Maine Better Transportation Association.
An official with the Maine Department of Transportation said this years conference focused on how climate impacts transportation. Also, how states can afford the changes being made.
“We’re very rural. We have a lot of miles but we don’t have a lot of people to pay into that system,” Fuentes said. “We’re also the oldest state in the country so we have many challenges and opportunities that go along with that.”
People from across the United States made their way to Augusta Thursday to share ideas and open new doors for the future of transportation here in Maine.
“This is not something unique to just Maine. Every state in the country is wrestling with the same issues,” said Burt Tasaico of North Carolina Department of Transportation.
“We’re all banded together. Roads just don’t stop anywhere. Roads go places. We don’t think about the importance it plays in our daily lives,” he said.
Keynote speaker Allie Kelly from Georgia shared ideas from her home state.
“The question is not is global warming causing these storms? The question is how is our warming planet and that warmth of our oceans and our atmosphere, how is it contributing to our extreme weather? Like more extreme weather and storms,” said Kelly.
“Infrastructure is definitely affected by it,” she said.
With different techniques, Fuentes said the goal each year is to bring new ideas to drive Maine into the future in the most efficient and sustainable ways.
“I think it’s a lot of information sharing and hopefully people leave here kind of energized to look at their new project maybe with some new ideas,” Fuentes said.