BANGOR (AP) — A private company that wants to build an east-west highway that has been discussed and studied for decades is attempting to jump-start the debate by offering its own proposal for a toll road from Calais to Coburn Gore.

The plan unveiled by Peter Vigue, president and CEO of Cianbro Corp., caught state transportation officials by surprise on Thursday.

Vigue told a Chamber of Commerce breakfast that there’s no point in talking about a taxpayer-funded highway, so his proposal calls for the highway to be paid by tolls. He said he even pitched his idea to a New York bank and got a “thumbs up.”

The proposal calls for three privately held roads to complete the route that would begin near Calais and travel toward Dover-Foxcroft before ending in Coburn Gore.

The highway would significantly reduce travel time, costs and fuel emissions for the 1,000 heavy American and Canadian trucks that travel through Calais daily. Those trucks are currently banned from the interstate because of their weight.

“The largest investors in this state in the last 10 years are the Canadians. Let’s accept it, embrace it, understand it. We’re not competitors,” Vigue said.

Vigue did not hide his frustration with state and federal government officials over their inability to get an east-west highway built.

“We can talk about it, we can stir it up and we can study it until the cows come home. It will not happen,” Vigue told about 250 business leaders.

Maine Transportation Commissioner David Cole says the MDOT would have to study the proposal before offering an opinion.