The recent news that the Amtrak Downeaster has had its federal funding extended is very good news for Maine. Still, there is more we can do right here at home to improve our railroads here in Maine – and that is vote yes on the transportation bond, Question 6 on the Nov. 3 ballot.
The bond includes $4 million in investments in our state’s rail assets, from MaineDOT’s new “Critical Rail Corridors” program to continued funding of the immensely successful Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP). Both of these programs follow a model that is a good one for our times. They take valuable public resources – state rail lines and public money – and encourage private investment to promote the freight and passenger use of rail.
MaineDOT estimates that $4 million in public investment will yield another $4 million in private investment by businesses operating in Maine.
We are fortunate to have a good congressional delegation and support in Washington that has helped us keep the Amtrak line alive here, but we need to do our part to support rail in Maine. Vote yes on Question 6.
John Duncan, director
Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System