November 18, 2011, President Obama signed the 2012 Transportation Funding Bill that includes a provision, written by Senator Susan Collins, that will allow 6-axle 100,000 lb. trucks to travel on all federal interstates in Maine for 20 years instead of forcing them off the highways and onto Maine's secondary roads and downtown streets.
It was a long road to get there, but with efforts from many different parties in the State of Maine, it was finally a success! What did H.O. Bouchard have to do with this getting passed for Maine? H.O. Bouchard conducted the study that was used by Senator Susan Collins and others that made such a huge impact on this law getting passed. Click here to see the results of the study we conducted. Two members of the H.O. Bouchard team, Gordon Debeck and Jeff Bouchard, traveled from Hampden, ME, to Houlton, ME, gathering the results of this study which became quite a considering factor in getting the Maine State provision passed.
Below are testimonials from the Maine State Senator Susan Collins and Brian Parke, CEO of MMTA on the impact H.O. Bouchard had on this finally becoming a success:
"I think the success of getting Congress to allow six axle trucks to use the entire Maine interstate system all came down to two important components - having a relentless advocate in Senator Susan Collins and having compelling real-world information and data to support the contention of improved highway safety. H.O. Bouchard did an outstanding job, and in my mind took us over the top, by providing incredible proof of how many different interactions would be avoided by allowing trucks to use the interstate for just one of their many trips.
This is just one more example of how trucking companies like H.O. Bouchard are really committed to highway safety, the safety of the motoring public and the safety of their drivers. Without Senator Collins being able to use their routing study from Hampden to Houlton to clearly see the safety benefits of putting commercial truck traffic on the interstate, the path to success would have been much harder."
Brian Parke, MMTA President and CEO
I have been employed with H.O. Bouchard for more than 32 years, and I have never seen the roads and bridges in Maine in such disrepair as they are today. Every mile of bad road our trucks have to travel costs our company money. This cost is ultimately borne by the Maine consumer. That's why I'm urging my fellow Maine voters to support the transportation bond. Vote YES on Question 4 on November 6. H.O.Bouchard, was founded by Harold Bouchard in 1958 when he started hauling gravel with a single Dodge truck. Today H.O.Bouchard operates one of the largest tanker fleets in the Northeast. Our trucks travel more than 7 million miles per year. More than half of that 4.75 million miles are on Maine roads.
The cost of excessive wear and tear on our trucks has a direct effect on the cost of items you buy every day; all caused by substandard roads and bridges. It also means that every trip is longer and more fuel is consumed, whether were hauling fuel oil, cement powder, asphalt, equipment or raw materials for the paper and water treatment industries. And the sad truth is, Maine has a lot of bad roads. Just last week, a major transportation research organization. The Road Information Program released a report that noted that 33 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads and highways are either in poor or mediocre condition. In Bangor the situation is even worse about 40 percent of our major urban roads are substandard. Those bad roads cost all vehicle owners in Maine a lot, both in lost time and extra repairs to our vehicles.
If you own a business, the condition of Maine roads has got to be hurting your bottom line; which means less chance to spread the wealth around, to grow your business, and to secure your future and that of your employees and those you love. But the bottom line is only half of the picture. At H.O.Bouchard our employees are our most valuable asset, and we take every possible step to protect their health and well being. That is another reason I'm asking you to vote for YES on question 4. Because bad roads are a factor in approximately one-third of serious traffic crashes and the fatality rate on Maine's non-interstate, rural roads is approximately seven times higher than on all other roads in the state.
What would a YES Vote on Question 4 do? Only good things. It would improve safety and improve Maine's economy. Road repair would also support and create over 3,100 good paying jobs here in Maine, and would also add a lot of jobs at family owned companies like ours across the state. Roads and bridges in all areas of the state would be worked on, so that everybody would be able to move around easier and more safely, and all areas of Maine would improve their chances of growing their economy. We'd also make our ports more competitive, because roads are an important part of our infrastructure to getting goods to and from Maine Ports and in and out of our state.
Voting YES on question 4 is a must for us! With interest rates at historic lows, now is the time to invest in the future of our children and the future of this great State of Maine.