Written by TRN Webmaster TRN Webmaster
Published: 07 October 2016 07 October 2016
The public hearing of the Maine Government Oversight Committee was held on October 6th, in Augusta. The purpose was to allow public comments on the recent Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability's (OPEGA) review of NNEPRA's financial and operational administration of the Amtrak Downeaster. Those who were displeased that the report failed to find fault with NNEPRA management, refocused their attention from trying to prevent the construction of the Brunswick Layover Facility to requesting further investigation of the decisions of NNEPA Executive Director Patricia Quinn as well as the board itself. Ms. Quinn, TrainRiders/NE Counsel F. Bruce Sleeper and an impassioned Board Chairman Martin Eisenstein returned the fire. Here's a sampling of the hearing.
The witnesses who asked for further investigation of NNEPRA consisted primarily of those who had opposed the siting of the Brunswick layover facility near their homes, as well as their State Senator, Stan Gerzofsky, and experts who had supported their position in the site selection process. Having, in the face of multiple studies which, as evaluated by three State and federal agencies in addition to NNEPRA, supported the site chosen by NNEPRA as far and away the best one, been frustrated in attempting to change that site, these NIMBY’s and their allies sought to attack the process which resulted in that decision, and, more generally, the way in which NNEPRA is being, and has been, run. As confirmed by statements made by Senator Gerzofsky, this was nothing more or less than an attack on NNEPRA’s executive director, Patricia Quinn. That attack ignores both the accomplishments of NNEPRA under her leadership, as well as her nationally recognized, and nationally lauded, leadership role in passenger rail. Sour grapes anyone?