PORTLAND — Backers of an effort to resurrect passenger train service between Portland and Auburn say they are ready to unveil details of their plan.
"We have projections for ridership, schedules, costs and ideas for sources for funding," said Tony Donovan of the Maine Rail Transit Coalition.
Donovan, members of Maine Commercial Association of Realtors and Sierra Club Maine will unveil a detailed analysis of passenger service from the Portland downtown waterfront to Auburn with stops in Falmouth, Yarmouth Village and Pineland Center.
It could set the stage for future expansion beyond Auburn, to Bethel, Maine's western ski resorts and Quebec.
The forum is scheduled for 8 a.m. Friday at Lee Auditorium at the Wishcamper Center, University of Southern Maine, 34 Bedford St., Portland.
Donovan will be joined by Lee Sobel, a real estate development and finance analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Christopher Coes, managing director of LOCUS, a network of real estate developers and investors affiliated with Smart Growth America. A representative from a Canadian rail-car maker also is expected to attend.
The Maine Rail Transit Coalition began studying ways to pay for refurbishing the 29-mile St. Lawrence and Atlantic public transit line between India Street in Portland and the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport in August.
The group has hosted a series of public meetings with residents living along the rail line.
"Those meetings were to get the concept out there and answer questions," Donovan said. "We had criteria that called for a station at a site of economic activity, as opposed to the Maine Department of Transportation just putting it at a park-and-ride. So, you go to a town like Falmouth and suggest a site and they suggest a better one. And we did the same thing at Pineland in New Gloucester and in Auburn."
Donovan said the proposal tries to fit a rail service to Maine's needs.
"We are trying to move away from state funding and get interest in local funding and local commitment," he said.
The meeting was originally scheduled for Feb. 28 but was postponed because of a winter storm.