Letter: Don't blame Brunswick residents for railroad's woes

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Patricia Quinn’s letter informing Brunswick of a year-long delay in the construction of an Amtrak layover facility inaccurately contends that neighbors’ concerns have delayed the facility by raising its costs. This “Quinn-spin” unjustly demonizes Brunswick taxpayers who stand between the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority and a layover facility at Brunswick West.

The layover facility was never required to bring the Downeaster to Brunswick. Only in April did NNEPRA propose it, in the process squelching neighbors’ voices and evading local processes.

Neighbors’ complaints have not stymied construction. From the start, NNEPRA lacked the funds necessary to build the project, with or without mitigation. NNEPRA woes are not news, and do not owe to abutters’ need for mitigation. They owe to NNEPRA’s haste in promoting a project for which insufficient funds had been secured.

NNEPRA acted hastily, creating expectations that Brunswick would benefit from many trains per day — before securing funding to build the facility, before completing a rigorous site selection analysis, and before reaching out to the impacted neighborhoods.

Now NNEPRA is holding the town hostage, ransoming arrivals they should never have promised in the first place, and cannot deliver anyway. Five trains a day will not come to Brunswick until the ridership to maintain two trains per day is established, regardless of the layover facility’s fate.

Blaming Brunswick West neighbors for problems resulting from NNEPRA’s poor planning sets town leadership against its own residents and constituents, and denies the public critical information it needs to make sensible decisions.

Patrick Rael