Recent legislation and several letters to the editor are again advocating for passenger rail service between Portland and the Lewiston-Auburn area. They claim there is a transportation need and potential economic benefits from improved rail service.

The key word is “need.” Because of low ridership, the Lewiston-Auburn community faces challenges in maintaining a local bus service that depends on financial support from the local communities just to survive.

Didn’t the Maine Department of Transportation undertake a study not too long ago that evaluated expanding passenger rail service from Portland to Brunswick and from Portland to Lewiston? I don’t remember that study advocating for the expansion of passenger rail service to the Lewiston-Auburn area.

So what has changed from a few years ago except for some new local legislators who could probably use a history lesson on the recommendations from previous rail expansion studies?

I would also like to know what specific economic benefits the region would gain from bringing passenger rail service to the region. Has anyone asked PanAm railways or the Saint Lawrence and Atlantic Railway why they haven’t ventured into passenger rail? It would be nice to have input from the local freight rail owners and operators regarding their views on the economic benefits of implementing passenger rail expansion to the local region.

Raymond Faucher, Lewiston


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