The mission of Maine Rail Group is to enhance rail service in Maine. It is for that reason that we have been following LD227 which, in its final form, was passed and signed by the Governor on June 14, 2021. The Bill is a first step in creating passenger rail service from Portland to Bangor.
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 then to Waterville and Bangor. Despite a large turn-out of supporters who testified at the public hearing in favor of the original bill, it was modified at the Transportation Committee’s Work Session and changed to a “Transit Propensity Analysis.” This analysis will include the evaluation of two possible routes to Bangor via Waterville: the state-owned rail line from Brunswick through Augusta and Pan Am’s main rail line through Lewiston/Auburn. The passenger rail service from Waterville would then continue to Bangor.
While the request for proposals (RFP)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 economic development opportunities.
We are delighted that the state is willing to provide $150,000 for its share of the study. However, in its final form impacted communities in Central Maine are expected to collectively contribute $50,000 to cover the total cost of the study. The Maine Rail Group is working to inform the public of this opportunity for the residents of 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.
City officials in Bangor, Waterville and Augusta have committed to provide funding to help pay for the project. Per Nate Moulton of the Maine Department of Transportation, the State is finalizing a contract for the project, and the kick-off for the project should occur in early May 2022.
During these past few months, the Maine Rail Group has reached out to local Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, Maine Planning Organizations, and other business groups to build community support to ensure that mid-Maine municipalities will be aware of the proposed study and provide funding for their share of the cost of the study.
We have developed a double-page flier based on the tri-fold brochure. The MRG’s brochure, below, is a trifold and can be printed out. You can also request copies by contacting us through this website.