MBTA track work will affect the Downeaster schedule this weekend. Check out the Priority Alert on the Downeaster website.
Brunswick Layover Facility: Gov. Says, "Thorough review needed" - TRN says "Current Environmental Assessment more than sufficient"
- Written by TRN Webmaster TRN Webmaster
- Published: 25 March 2014 25 March 2014
From Wayne Davis, TrainRiders/Northeast Chairman:
A letter from Governor Paul LePage to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) became public this week requesting a "significant and thorough review" of the planned train Layover Facility that would be constructed in the existing property zoned 'rail yard' in West Brunswick. Local residents next to the rail yard have complained about plans for the facility and the procedure by which the location was selected. NNEPRA has already provided the FRA with the required Environmental Assessment document which is currently under review by that federal agency.
The governor's letter essentially raises the local residents' concerns to a state level, regrettably using incorrect data and logic to argue against NNEPRA, the quasi-state agency that manages Amtrak’s Downeaster service. The governing board of NNEPRA insists that it has conducted a thorough and transparent process of evaluating the impact of the facility on the adjacent neighborhood..
In addition to questioning the integrity of the NNEPRA board, the governor is proposing the appointment of Robert W. McEvoy to the NNEPRA board. Mr. McEvoy is an engineer who lives in the protesting neighborhood and has been opposed to the layover facility site since it was first introduced.
The policy of the preceding two governors was not to divide the NNEPRA board over such contentious issues, but to have a board capable of supporting the stated goals of Downeaster growth and expansion. TrainRiders has always promoted the appointment of board members who are not just knowledgeable about rail, but supportive of the State of Maine’s investment in passenger rail service
A hearing on Mr. McEvoy's nomination is scheduled on April 3rd at 1 p.m. in Room 126 of the Statehouse.
UPDATE: WLBZ Bangor reports that NNEPRA Executive Director Patricia Quinn states that her organization has done extensive research on the potential impacts of the project, and she is confident in the conclusions drawn.
The Brunswick Town Council voted not to be dragged into the dispute - an area where they have no juridiction.
We encourage the original 90,000 Maine citizens who signed the original Passenger Rail Service Act that made the Downeaster possible, as well as our membership and the general public that have ridden the Downeaster since its inaugural run in 2001 to attend upcoming meetings as they are scheduled. Letters should also be written to the governor expressing deep concern that he has been misinformed by self-serving political forces.
- Bangor Daily New report
- Governor LePage's letter to the FRA
- Brunswick Town Council decides not to call for a further enronmental assessment - leave it to the FRA, they say.