For the past eight years, my wife and I have attended events that pertain to passenger rail service, in particular the ones that could provide service to Lewiston-Auburn and western Maine. We have attended the Androscoggin Oxford Coos Counties Passenger Rail Coalition. The Coalition is made up of representatives from Gorham, N.H., Bethel, South Paris, Mechanic Falls, Auburn and other communities.

The Maine DOT must start to develop plans to get rail service to and from Portland, with a longer-term plan to connect to Montreal. I believe that the first step could be accomplished within five years and the one to Montreal would come very quickly after that.

The service by rail to Portland could become a commuter system between the two largest cites in Maine and connect to the Downeaster, which is more appealing for those of us from this area to travel to Boston and beyond. We wouldn’t have to use the Turnpike to get to the train.

The estimated number of passengers coming and going to Montreal is double the amount that the Downeaster currently has. Passenger rail service is a major stimulus for economic development because of the money spent by those that use the services and come to vacation in Lewiston-Auburn and western Maine. It would create good paying jobs and provide jobs that would keep our younger people in Maine.

Elected representatives need to get “on board.”

Richard and Diane Grandmaison, Lewiston

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