In the 126th Legislature, we started to lay the groundwork for passenger rail discussion. I am pleased to see that Sen. Nate Libby and Rep. Jared Golden have continued the discussion with two bills that lay out a plan to start.

Putting a plan in motion to bring passenger rail service through the second largest populated area of the state only makes sense. What people need to understand is this is not just about Lewiston and Auburn; this is about serving the entire western corridor of Maine.

The line would run through Lewiston-Auburn to Oxford, Bethel, New Hampshire and Vermont, serving the large tourist areas along that route, with the possibility of going to Montreal.

Following the data, it is apparent that wherever passenger rail has gone, economic growth of some model has followed. That will not only be for supplying passenger rail, but will augment and upgrade freight rail as well.

Taxpayers spend millions a year subsidizing Amtrak for the southern part of Maine and it has been very successful. It is time to plan for the continued route through Lewiston-Auburn and into the western corridors of Maine.

Every mode of public transportation is subsidized in one way or another and this is no different. It would even take some pressure off of our highways and bridges in the future.

It is time to move forward on this. Enough talk, more action; and I hope the Legislature has enough vision and foresight to support these two bills.

Wayne Werts, Auburn

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