LePage vetoes port authority

BAR HARBOR — Gov. Paul LePage handed down a veto on Tuesday of the bill that would allow Bar Harbor voters to create a local port authority.

A port authority would “deflect accountability from the town,” he wrote in his veto letter.

Town Manager Cornell Knight said he didn’t agree with that assessment because voters would elect the bulk of a potential port authority’s governing board.

“It’s three elected by the town and two appointed by council,” Knight said Wednesday. “I don’t agree with a lack of local accountability.”

LePage also argued that towns are well enough equipped to handle cruise ship traffic, and many towns and cities do so perfectly well.

“The municipalities can maintain and expand the necessary infrastructure to land any cruise ship just as, if not more, effectively than a local port authority,” he wrote.

“Bar Harbor is aware they cannot legally prohibit cruise ships from visiting,” the letter says. It also referred to article 13, a citizen petition zoning change rejected by voters last year as a “proposed moratorium on cruise ships.”

That characterization of the proposal echoes language in the state’s purchase agreement with the town for the ferry terminal property, but article 13, if it had passed, would not have imposed a moratorium. It would have prevented cruise ships longer than 300 feet from tying to a pier. Bigger ships would have still been able to anchor and send passengers ashore in smaller tender vessels.

The Legislature can override the veto if two-thirds of both the House and Senate support the bill. An override vote would go first to the Senate.



Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd is a University of Maine graduate and a former Bar Harbor reporter for the Mount Desert Islander.
Samuel Shepherd

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