STATEWIDE — Supporters of expanding passenger rail service in Maine said it’s an economic development tool.
During a news conference Tuesday morning, the Maine Rail Transit Coalition said passenger rail service also promotes cleaner air by reducing motor vehicle traffic.
This week the Maine Legislature will hold public hearings on bills aimed at bringing passenger rail service to Lewiston and Bangor as well as towns along the routes.
Sen. Joseph Baldacci, D-Bangor, said if President Biden’s infrastructure plan gets approved, it would mean federal funding for rail projects could be available.
Sen. Benjamin Chipman, D-Portland, said the state tracks already exist.
“The tracks would have been upgraded in most cases for most of these so they could handle higher speed passenger rail. But the lines are already there. The routes already exist so we wouldn’t be creating new routes,” he said.
Both senators said with Biden’s infrastructure plan of nearly $2 trillion, now is the time to make sure Maine gets its share of the money and uses some of it for passenger rail expansion.