BAR HARBOR — A pair of bond issues that will facilitate expansion of research at the Jackson Lab and the Mount Desert Island Biological Lab appeared poised for passage as election results continue to be tabulated on Wednesday.
Question 4, which would approve $10 million in borrowing, would primarily benefit The Jackson Laboratory. Question 5 would direct $3 million to the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL). Each bond would be matched by double its amount in private funding, potentially bringing a total of just under $30 million in economic funding to Bar Harbor.
While funds from each bond question are to be awarded through a competitive bidding process, the money is designed to go to Bar Harbor’s research institutions.
Hancock County towns voted strongly in support of both. With 90 percent of towns reporting in, Question 4 was ahead 64 to 36 percent. Question 5 was ahead by a slightly lower margin, 57 to 43 percent
As returns were tabulated Tuesday evening, Question 4 enjoyed strong support. With about 90 percent of precincts reporting statewide, it was ahead by more than 100,000 votes. The margin was 63 percent yes to 37 percent no.
Question five was considered too close to call throughout much of the evening Tuesday. By Wednesday morning it had edged ahead by 10,000 votes with statewide totals showing 51 percent yes to 49 percent no.
“We’re very, very pleased,” said Jackson Laboratory spokesman Michael Hyde on Wednesday. “It was humbling to see support coming in from people all across the state. We are definitely feeling the responsibility to deliver on the promises. We will make the people of Maine proud.”
“We are grateful to the voters for this opportunity to strengthen Maine’s R&D economy,” said Kevin Strange, president and CEO of the MDI Biological Laboratory. “We look forward to expanding our statewide workforce training programs for Maine students and developing faster, more efficient treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and heart disease. Despite our small size, the MDI Biological Laboratory has an impressive track record of generating double digit returns on state investment, and we look forward to doing this once again.”