PORTLAND — The Maine Rail Transit Coalition and the Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club will hold a forum Feb. 28 on a model for funding passenger rail transit and restoring passenger rail service between Portland and Auburn.
"Smart Growth Mobility Forum; A 21st Century Vision for Passenger Rail and Transit Investments" is set from 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 28 at the University of New England Ludke Auditorium, 716 Stevens Ave. From 4 to 6 p.m., visitors are invited to network with legislators on this issue.
The 'Smart Growth' report, funded by the National Association of Realtors and the Sierra Club, is designed to inform the public on the connection between local land-use planning and innovations in transportation financing, and how a passenger rail service can enhance the economies of the region.
The featured speaker is Lee Sobel, real estate development and finance analyst for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Sobel will present information on the EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities and its recent publication, "Infrastructure Financing Options for Transit Oriented Development.”
Tony Donovan, founding member of the coalition, will present the findings and recommendations of the Smart Growth Mobility Project. The six-month study focuses on the state-owned rail corridor between India Street in Portland and the Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport. The potential for future connections to towns in Oxford County, northern New England and Montreal will be discussed.
“Our goal is to leverage these federal resources for successful public private partnership in Maine to advance 21st century economic development,” Donovan said in a statement.
Other speakers include Christopher A. Coes from Smart Growth America and managing director for LOCUS, a network of real estate developers and investors who advocate for sustainable, walkable development; and Walter O’Rourke, who will discuss modern rail car systems.
A panel discussion and networking will follow the presentation.
Light food and beverages will be served.