News Brief

MBTA track work will affect the Downeaster schedule this weekend. Check out the Priority Alert on the Downeaster website.

Maine’s Government Oversight Committee (GOC) met today in Augusta and heard Beth Ashcroft, director of the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA), present a 7-page report detailing her agency's preliminary investigation of NNEPRA. This investigation was initiated at the request of Sen. Stan Gerzofsky (D. Brunswick), who, among other things, opposed NNEPRA’s choice for the site of the soon-to-be-completed layover facility in Brunswick and who accused that Authority of mismanagement and a lack of transparency. 

After extensive research into the operations and governance of the rail authority, Ms. Ashcroft stated that OPEGA found no significant issues with NNEPRA.  More specifically, the report stated that:

  • OPEGA does not find that mismanagement or lack of transparency are “areas of high risk at this time.”
  • OPEGA has not “identified any potential concerns or high risk conditions that lead us to definitely recommend further review” of any NNEPRA functions which are “key to providing the most effective and efficient passenger rail service possible.”

OPEGA noted that NNEPRA “appears to have strong practices in some areas, like procurement and contracting, which are already reviewed to some degree through . . . federal reviews and independent financial audits.”  OPEGA’s conclusion that “there may be limited value to spending OPEGA resources on more detailed review of NNEPRA at this time” is a strong endorsement of NNEPRA’s practices and activities, validating the value of that agency to the State of Maine and the rest of northern New England.   

OPEGA's 7-page report will be followed by a more detailed Information Brief in September, after which the GOC will consider whether any follow up is needed. A copy of the report is available at http://legislature.maine.gov/uploads/originals/final-nnepra-project-direction-recommendation-statement-.pdf.