BAR HARBOR — The Maine House of Representatives failed to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of LD 1400, a bill that would have allowed voters here to create a port authority.
The Senate voted on March 15 to override the veto by a 25-8 vote. The House voted 81-63 to override the veto, short of the necessary two-thirds majority. Thirty representatives who originally voted in favor of the bill flipped their votes and opted to sustain the governor’s veto.
LePage vetoed the bill on March 6 saying that the port authority would be a way for the town to avoid accountability. Town Manager Cornell Knight disagreed with that assessment.
“It’s three elected by the town and two appointed by council,” Knight said on March 7. “I don’t agree with a lack of local accountability.”
Knight and town councilors supported giving voters the option to create a port authority to relieve the financial burden on the town from the development of the former ferry terminal property.
Friends of Frenchman Bay welcomed the news of the sustained veto.
“A Port Authority would have paved the way for a nearly half-mile long mega pier at the base of Acadia National Park, and it would have benefited only the out-of-state cruise ship industry,” spokesperson Pamela McCullough said. “Now, hopefully, we can get back to the plan to build a much smaller, multi-use marina that a Bar Harbor citizens’ committee has recommended to the Bar Harbor Town Council.”
Brian Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor) voted to override the veto.