Maine Transportation Conference is back in person for its 71st year

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 6:09 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The 71st annual Maine Transportation Conference is back in person after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

“It is the overall sentiment in the building,” Bruce Van Note, Maine’s Department of Transportation Commissioner said.

More than 700 transportation professionals and 50 exhibitors filled the space at the Augusta Civic center for the all-day event.

Maine’s Department of Transportation Commissioner said it’s all about celebrating the opportunities that can arise from challenges.

“COVID has changed the workforce, changed supply chains, increased prices, made how our workers work different, and with every one of those comes opportunities,” Van Note said.

For keynote speaker April Rao, transportation should be the great connector.

“That connects people to work, education, opportunities, loved ones, life, so that means it has to be equitable, accessible to everyone, affordable,” Rai, President and CEO, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials said.

Commissioner Van Note, who spoke at the event, said Maine can step up to the challenges with the bipartisan infrastructure law that passed Congress.

He said the recent ribbon cutting on a major project in downtown Waterville is an example of that.

“That was an example of focusing on the uses of that area, which are more human scale not vehicular scale. I mean, cars are still passing throughout, slow them down, have them go on both directions, make sure there is plenty of room for bicycles and pedestrians. and it is just a huge benefit to the economic vibrancy of that downtown,” he said.

Van Note said he hopes people walk away from this year’s conference with a sense of optimism.

“Teamwork is a contact sport, and this place shows that. I am so happy to be associated with all the people in this building because they are problem solvers. They are the difference between ideas and reasoned actions, and it happens in places like this,” Van Note said.