Our mission statement is to enhance rail service in Maine. For the last several months we have been working to enhance passenger rail to service the central part of Maine. We have been following LD 227, an act to start passenger rail to Bangor.
This is an update regarding the passage of LD 227 which was approved by the Maine State Legislature and signed by the Governor Janet Mills on June 14, 2021. The original bill which was sponsored by Senator Joe Baldacci and seven other state legislators from Central Maine called for the state to conduct a feasibility study for passenger rail service from Brunswick to Augusta and beyond to Waterville and Bangor. Despite a large turn-out of supporters who testified virtually at the public hearing in favor of the bill, the final version was modified at the Transportation Committee’s Work Session to conduct a “Transit Propensity Analysis”. This analysis will include the evaluation of the two possible routes to Bangor: the state-owned rail line from Brunswick through Augusta or Pan Am’s main rail line from Lewiston/Auburn. The passenger rail service from Waterville would then continue to Bangor.
While the request for proposals has not been sent out yet, we expect the propensity analysis will include an evaluation of potential ridership by examining similar rail corridors, the demographics and travel demand/patterns of the Study Area and the potential development opportunities.
We are delighted that the state is willing to provide $150,000 for its share of the study. As the major communities in Central Maine are expected to cover 25% of the cost of the study, the Maine Rail Group is working to build public support in Augusta, Bangor and Waterville. We believe passenger rail service extending to Bangor is a strategic investment in Maine’s future and recognize it cannot be achieved without the active support of community organizations and local businesses.
It is our understanding that city officials in both Bangor and Waterville will provide funding to help pay for the project and we are hopeful that with the impending change in leadership in Augusta, city officials will recognize the value of participating in this endeavor as well. In the meantime, we plan to reach out to local Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, Maine Planning Organizations and other business groups to build community support to ensure that the three municipalities will provide funding for their 25% share of the cost of the study.
We have developed a double page flier based on the tri-fold brochure. The MRG’s brochure which is below is a tri-fold and can be printed out.