Opinion: It's the Perfect Time for More Trains in Maine

A more concerted effort could bring together the state's recent plans and federal infrastructure investment to link the region and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

February 9, 2021, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Portland, Maine

spirit of america / Shutterstock

Tony Donovan, writing in the Press Herald, argues that Maine leaders should take advantage of recent infrastructure investments and newly available federal funding to make a major push for a more well-connected rail system in the state.

"In 2020 the Governor’s Climate Council report found that the transportation sector is responsible for 54 percent of Maine’s total greenhouse-gas emissions, and that the Climate Council goal is to reduce emissions by 80 percent. The state now has in hand the Lewiston/Auburn Passenger Rail Service Plan, which positions Maine to address these needs head on," writes Donovan. The state's plan promises to move up to 600,000 commuters daily on hybrid-electric trains and bring a long-awaited connection to Montreal.

The holdup in completing these projects, according to Donovan, has been cost. "To succeed with innovative projects to meet much-needed goals, we cannot shy away from the costs. The costs of the status quo are much greater." With signs that the new administration will fund substantial infrastructure investments and private investors looking to train station sites as ripe for development, Donovan believe that Maine, a state with "the experience of creating and operating one of the most successful passenger train operations in the country," is uniquely positioned to develop a modern, comprehensive train system that will take vehicles off the road and provide seamless regional links.

Saturday, January 30, 2021 in Press Herald

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