Rubin speaks as transportation expert at national conference

Jonathan Rubin, director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and professor of economics, and chair of the Environment and Energy Section, U.S. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, will be one of the experts presenting on transportation at the Washington, D.C. conference, U.S. Energy Policy in the 2016 Elections and Beyond: Incremental or Transformational? The April 26 event is sponsored by the Center for Strategic & international Studies. Joining Rubin in the session on transportation will be Dan Sperling, founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis; James Corless, director of Transportation for America; Drew Kojak, executive director of the International Council on Clean Transportation.

The session will focus on transportation as a major driver of energy consumption and a source of air quality issues. New technologies and new approaches to transportation mean that the United States is in a unique position to rethink the policies and regulations affecting how, when, and where people and goods move.

What is the future of vehicle emissions and efficiency standards both in terms of stringency and method of testing? How are states and the federal government improving aging infrastructure? Where is the funding coming from and where can more be done? Should infrastructure dollars go to upgrading the existing platform or transforming it to accommodate the future vehicle fleet?

How will new vehicle technologies and ways of using vehicles change the transportation energy landscape and what issues does that raise for policymakers? What is the future technology platform for transportation? Electrification? Biofuels? All of the above?

Jonathan Rubin to be Policy Center Director

Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Carol H. Kim has named Jonathan Rubin, Professor of Economics, as the director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, at the University of Maine. Rubin has been a member of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center faculty since 1998.

The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center is a nonpartisan, independent research and public service unit of the University of Maine.

Rubin received his BA in Economics from the University of Rochester in 1984 and his PhD in Agricultural Economics in 1993 from the University of of California, Davis.He was a Fulbright Scholar at the Clean Energy Research Center, University of Botswana and a Visiting Fellow at the Cambridge Center for Climate Change Mitigation Research,University of Cambridge. He is the Chair of the Environment and Energy Section of US Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Dr Rubin’s research has been supported by the US State Department, the National Science Foundation, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Energy, New England University Transportation Center, and the Maine Department of Transportation. He has provided testimony to the Maine State Legislature and has been featured on Maine television and radio programs.

Transportation Commissioner Bernhardt visits UMaine

The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering hosted Commissioner David Bernhardt of the Maine Department of Transportation at the University of Maine on April 6, 2016. Commissioner Bernhardt was honored as a Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow, an honor extended to prominent individuals with a past or current career as a policymaker in the state.

As a Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow, Commissioner Bernhardt spent the day on campus meeting with President Dr. Susan Hunter, Provost Dr. Jeffrey Hecker, and distinguished leaders from the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Economics. Commissioner Bernhardt toured campus research facilities – including the Advanced Manufacturing Center, Advanced Structures and Composites Center, and the Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction Lab – and met with a large group of engineering students and professors.

At the standing-room only meeting with engineering students, the commissioner, who graduated from the University of Maine with an engineering degree in 1984, expressed his appreciation for the University of Maine’s world class facilities and the opportunities afforded to students. The commissioner underscored the importance of transportation, calling transportation the “lifeblood” of an economy, and detailed the diversity of modes of transportation in Maine. Students were inspired by learn about ongoing cooperation between the University of Maine’s Department of Civil Engineer and the Department of Transportation as the commissioner urged them to be innovative in their thinking and enthusiastic in their studies.

At the end of Commissioner Bernhardt’s visit, a reception was organized at the University Club to honor the commissioner for his service and dedication. Remarks were delivered by Dr. Dana Humphrey, Dean of the College of Engineering, and the Honorable Mary Cathcart of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.

The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center typically organizes two visits by Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows each academic semester. Past Policy Fellows include Rep. Ellie Espling and Rep. Sara Gideon. Future Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows will be announced here and in print.

David Bernhardt is Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow

Maine Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt visits UMaine on Wednesday, April 6, as a Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow. He will meet with students, faculty, and researchers on campus. A public reception will be held at the University Club in Fogler Library at 4:00PM. His visit is sponsored by the Policy Center and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

More information on the Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows Program.

Public Affairs Undergraduate Scholarship

The Policy Center is now accepting applications from UMaine undergraduates for the Margaret Chase Smith Public Affairs Scholarship. An award of $3500 is available for undergraduate independent research on a topic of the student’s choice. All majors are eligible.

The application deadline is April 8th. More details and the scholarship application for 2016-17 are online.

Policy Center’s Rubin to Lead Academic Program as UMaine Hosts Young African Leaders

Policy Center faculty researcher Jonathan Rubin will lead the academic program as a group from the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is hosted for a six-week course at UMaine this summer. See the full press release below.

University of Maine to host Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

The University of Maine has been selected as one of 37 institutions nationwide as partners with the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Beginning in mid-June, UMaine will host 25 emerging public management leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa for a six-week academic and leadership institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Carol Kim, UMaine vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School, will co-lead the institute with Jonathan Rubin, professor of economics with the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, and Daniel Dixon, director of sustainability.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the 2014 flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and support for activities in their communities. Fellows are young leaders who have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities and countries.

The 25 Mandela Fellows at UMaine are among 1,000 young African leaders ages 25 to 35 who were selected from more than 43,000 applications. The fellows are being hosted at institutions across the United States this summer, studying in institutes focused on business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, public management or energy. In addition, fellows will participate in community programming that offers insights into American culture.

“The University of Maine’s selection as a Mandela Washington Fellowship host partner is a testament to the school’s ability to foster innovative thinking and inspire excellence,” says U.S. Sen. Angus King. “UMaine is a place where new and exciting ideas are shared each and every day, and by bringing some of the best and brightest future leaders from Africa to share their perspectives and learn from experts here in Maine, this valuable cultural exchange program will benefit everyone involved.”

Working closely with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and its implementing partner, IREX, host institutions have designed academic programs that will challenge, inspire and empower the young leaders from Africa.

The public management institute that will be hosted at UMaine is tailored to fellows who work or aspire to work in all levels of government, regional or international organizations, or other publicly minded groups and think tanks. Participants are introduced to U.S. models and best practices while building technical and leadership capacity in areas such as citizen engagement, human resource management, public financial management, and the intersection of government with business and civil society.

In addition to UMaine, 11 other universities are hosting 2016 Public Management Institutes for Mandela Fellows, including Arizona State University, Syracuse University, Ohio State and University of Wisconsin, Madison.

“UMaine is among a select group of top universities nationwide chosen to partner with the Mandela Washington Fellowship and make a difference on an international scale. This is a leadership role for the university and the state that has the potential to help shape the future, not only for these outstanding emerging leaders, but their countries,” says UMaine President Susan J. Hunter.

Following their six-week academic and leadership institutes, the Mandela Fellows will meet in Washington, D.C. for a Presidential Summit. Some also will spend six weeks in professional development training with U.S. nongovernmental organizations, private companies and government agencies. Upon their return, fellows receive ongoing professional development opportunities, including mentoring, networking and training, and seed funding to support their ideas, businesses and organizations, according to the Mandela Washington Fellowship website.

More information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship is online (

Summer Internship Application Is Open

The Maine Government Summer Internship Program is now accepting applications for summer 2016. Positions will be available in agencies of the Maine state government and in Maine municipal governments. Paid summer internships will run May 31 through August 19, for a total of 12 weeks. While most positions will be in the Augusta area, there will be others in Portland, Caribou, Madawaska, South Berwick, and Damariscotta.

Students may apply online, submitting a cover letter, resume and transcript. State and local government requests for interns are also submitted online. The deadline for applications is March 1.

To learn more and to apply:

For more information, contact
Peggy McKee

Transportation Energy Seminar

Keystone Pipeline and Low Carbon Fuels: An Update on Transportation Energy Policy
February 1 at 3pm
107 Norman Smith Hall

Speaker: Jonathan Rubin, Professor, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and School of Economics

Download the Transportation Energy Seminar flyer
The use of energy in transportation continues to be one of the largest contributors to U.S. Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. The policy framework for transportation energy is rapidly evolving due to changes in federal fuel economy standards (CAFE regulations), renewable fuel mandates (ethanol and advanced biofuels), initiatives in California and Oregon to cap the carbon content of motor fuels and changes in US regulation of petroleum including the historic lifting of the ban on exports of US-produced oil. Transportation energy use is particularly complicated because of the need to coordinate the actions of vehicle manufacturers, fuel suppliers and vehicle purchasers (consumers). This talk will summarize trends in transportation energy use and discuss possible future paths and policy options.

Dr. Rubin is a Professor in the School of Economics and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine. He specializes in the economics of energy, light-duty transportation, greenhouse gas emissions and alternative fuels. His research investigates low carbon transportation fuels, biofuel pathways, and the potential economic and environmental impacts from trading greenhouse gases and fuel efficiency credits for automobiles and light-duty trucks. He is the Chair of the Environment and Energy Section (ADC00) of US Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. From 2008-2014 he was the Chair of the Committee on Transportation Energy, TRB. He has been an advisory panel member, Airport Cooperative Research Program 02-56 (developing an airport business case for renewable energy), S02-02 (sustainable facilities and practices), and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program 25-35 (guidebook for designing and managing rights-of-way for carbon sequestration and biomass generation)

Streaming and video conferencing are available. Please contact Carol Hamel ( for details.

Author from Maine Policy Review issue on aging is interviewed on MPBN’s Morning Edition

Kathleen Mundell of the Maine Arts Commission discusses the effort to foster creativity in older Mainers in an interview with MPBN and in the latest issue of Maine Policy Review.

Listen to the interview:

Read Mundell’s article in MPR:

Acheson interviewed on high food costs

Ann Acheson of the Policy Center and John Rebar of Cooperative Extension were interviewed for a news story on high food costs in Maine.

See the story here:
Maine high above national average in annual grocery bills