This is in response to the letter to the editor by John Davis (March 15). As a commercial real estate developer and an expert on railroad development, I write to set the record straight.

Davis is on the wrong track, literally, when he mischaracterizes two bills offered by Sen. Nate Libby and Rep. Jared Golden to restore passenger rail service from Portland to Lewiston-Auburn. Neither bill contemplates the Back Cove Bridge, nor “waterfront tracks.”

As for the investing tax dollars in rail infrastructure, best to use the state-owned railway rather than put more public money into a privately-owned railway that serves the same purpose

Rep. Golden’s bill would commission an economic feasibility study and a service development plan to assess the route from Portland to Lewiston-Auburn and plan where stops will be, as well as associated costs and potential benefits.

Rep. Golden’s bill ensures that the process is objective and that the result is the highest possible return on investment to taxpayers.

Sen. Libby’s bond proposal, contrary to Davis’ letter, certainly does not establish waterfront railroad lines. Instead, it provides for key improvements on existing railroad lines to strengthen Downeaster service, increase efficiency and safety, and lay the foundation for passenger rail service to Lewiston-Auburn.

Expansion of passenger rail from Portland to Lewiston-Auburn is not a pork barrel project; it’s an investment in the area’s economic future. Connecting Maine’s two largest metropolitan areas will yield millions of dollars in economic benefits for the whole state.

Tony Donovan, Portland

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