In order to determine how to best invest in Maine’s passenger and freight rail infrastructure over the next ten years, the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) is developing the Maine State Rail Plan, an analysis into the state rail system’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. Two upcoming public meetings will allow Mainers to help with the analysis by providing their thoughts on such topics as:3
- Defining what criteria should be used to prioritize public investments in rail.
- How does rail meet the needs of the state and region?
- Defining the positive impacts that the State of Maine and stakeholders can have in addressing and meeting regional and statewide rail needs.
- Examining forces that may be limiting the State and stakeholders in addressing and meeting regional and statewide rail needs?
- Can (and should) rail help to take traffic off the public roads? How would that happen in your region?
The first public meeting will take place in Bangor on Monday, September 28 from 6 - 8 p.m. at the Bangor Motor Inn. The second meeting will take place in Portland on Tuesday, September 29 from 6 - 8 p.m. at the Glickman Library at the University of Southern Maine.
The State Rail Plan is scheduled to be completed early in 2010.
In addition to soliciting information from the public, MaineDOT is working with a 30-member Technical Advisory Committee to gather information on current infrastructure needs and identify trends and opportunities. A study website is linked to the MaineDOT home page and can also be found by going directly to www.maine.gov/mdot/railplan/index.htm. The public can provide any comments directly via the web site. As study data is gathered, it will be posted on the site, giving the public ongoing information into the study process and findings.
In addition to hearing from stakeholders, Nate Moulton, MaineDOT Rail Plan Project Manager, sees development of the plan as a way to provide insight into the challenge of making transportation decisions.
“We know that today’s economy means making difficult decisions and trade-offs,” he said. “Funding for maintaining and operating an efficient passenger and freight rail system is very complex, and this study will be a great way to make this aspect of transportation planning part of the public dialogue.”
Questions regarding the meetings may be directed to Carol Morris, Study Public Outreach, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-329-6502.
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