Maine state rail plan p ublic outreach meeting portland
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Maine State Rail Plan P ublic Outreach Meeting – Portland. Presented by: MaineDOT HNTB Morris Communications December 7 , 2009. Agenda. Welcome/ Purpose of State Rail Plan Nathan Moulton, Project Manager, MaineDOT State Rail Plan Presentation

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Maine state rail plan p ublic outreach meeting portland

Maine State Rail PlanPublic Outreach Meeting – Portland

Presented by:



Morris Communications

December 7, 2009



  • Welcome/ Purpose of State Rail Plan

    • Nathan Moulton, Project Manager, MaineDOT

  • State Rail Plan Presentation

    • Recap of TAC & Public Comments, Carol Morris, Morris Communications

    • Key Findings, Draft Prioritization Criteria, Draft Vision Dennis Coffey, HNTB

    • Funding Review and Draft Recommendations, Ray Tomczak, HNTB

    • Next Steps, Carol Morris

Purpose of state rail plan

Purpose of State Rail Plan

  • What the Plan will provide:

    • Identification of critical rail corridors in Maine

    • Methodology to prioritize rail projects in Maine

    • Recommended actions to enhance the rail system

    • A list of possible projects that could qualify for federal funding opportunities over the next five years

    • A list of creative funding opportunities for Maine to explore

    • Flexibility, yet clear direction

Purpose of state rail plan1

Purpose of State Rail Plan

  • What the Plan will not provide:

    • Commitment to funding for specific projects

    • Recommendations on new funding streams

    • A list of specific projects that will be funded

Public outreach

Public Outreach

  • Carol Morris, Facilitator

    • Public Meeting Times & Locations

    • Recap of Commonly Heard Public Comments

Public meetings

Public Meetings

Expanded to include Presque Isle & Lewiston/Auburn

One remaining round of meetings:

Portland, South Portland Community Center: December 7

Bangor, Bangor Motor Inn: December 8

Lewiston/Auburn, Museum L-A, 35 Canal Street, Bates Mill Complex: December 14

Presque Isle, University of Presque Isle: December 15

Public comments

Public Comments

  • My region wants passenger rail

  • My region needs better/more/some freight service

  • My region needs track upgrades

  • My region needs/deserves these things more than any other in Maine

  • The State should focus rail investment in key areas

Public comments1

Public Comments


  • Economic development potential should be key to investment decisions

  • Economic development is needed to support building rail infrastructure

  • A return on the public investment in rail lines should be measurable

  • Public investment should require something back from beneficiaries

Public comments2

Public Comments


  • Leverage infrastructure that is already in place

  • Focus investment in just a few critical locations – do not scatter it everywhere

  • Assess benefit/cost/potential of rail corridors before investing

  • Identify central rail facilities and ship the rest via truck

Public comments3

Public Comments


  • Continue to improve Maine’s regional freight/land use planning & economic development coordination

  • Make rail investments that tie into New England and Canadian plans

  • Position Maine to take advantage of Class 1 & regional rail improvements elsewhere in the US and Canada by utilizing 286,000 gross weight capacity/Class 3 track speed

Public comments4

Public Comments


  • Maine needs container-train corridors

  • Freight rail shipping needs to be more reliable in terms of delivery time, cost, and reducing product damages

  • Freight rail shipping needs better connectivity

  • Business community needs to promise more freight rail utilization

  • Diversification of shippers is necessary to expand freight rail usage

  • Improve freight partnerships with existing and potential manufacturers, big business, and others

Public comments5

Public Comments


  • Strong support for current & future Downeaster intercity passenger rail service

  • Explore commuter rail opportunities radiating outward from Portland


  • Maintain the state’s forest industry

  • Preserve service on the MM&A proposed abandonment

  • Grow L-A’s intermodal facility


  • Enhanced shipper outreach is necessary

  • Greater public interaction is needed in order for public to support/understand additional rail funding

Tac and public suggested criteria

TAC and Public Suggested Criteria

Seek greatest public return on investment

Priority for shared use rail lines

Multimodal: Integrate other transportation modes

Focus investments on Maine, NE & Canada rail plan priorities

Ability to attract new business & retain existing customers

Economic development impacts are key

Invest in projects that will improve the volume of goods and number of people moved

Focus rail investment on areas where capacity & reliability intersect

Congestion mitigation

Rail system

Rail System

  • Dennis Coffey, HNTB, Rail Task Leader

    • Key Findings

    • Prioritization Criteria

    • Funding Review

Identified trends

Identified Trends

  • Changing markets: reduced demand for rail shipments

  • Declining tonnage shipped by rail reduced railroads’ income and ability to operate/maintain the system

  • North-South routes affected by multiple rail carriers

  • East-West routes are primarily through-traffic

  • Trucking dominates the region, offering timely service – flexibility

Current situation

Current Situation

  • Railroads are highly capital-intensive

  • Tough for rail industry to make quick improvements to enhance market share

Source: AAR. Included in the Northeast Rail Operations (NEROps) Phase 1 Study

Northeast rail freight tonnage

Northeast rail freight tonnage

Source: Northeast Rail Operations (NEROps) Phase 1 Study

Current situation1

Current Situation

  • Pulp & paper industry still dominant for rail

  • Rail traffic density centered in south central ME

Current situation2

Current Situation

  • Deferred maintenance on tracks

  • Increasing State of Maine ownership

  • Limited heavy axle car loading available – “286”

  • Two double stack clearance routes

    • SLR, Portland to New Hampshire

    • MMA, Searsport to Quebec province

Current situation3

Current Situation

  • No Class 1 RRs in ME and most of New England means:

    • Added cost of multiple interchanges

    • Track speeds lower and time to market takes longer

    • Service not as robust as customers would prefer

Maine state rail plan p ublic outreach meeting portland

Source: Atlantic Institute for Market Study Presentation

Regional connectivity important

Regional Connectivity Important!

NS, CP, PAS and PAR Accessible Corridors

Source: Northeast Rail Operations Study, Phase II

North east regional connectivity

North-East Regional Connectivity

  • Maritime Canada key partner

  • St. John link critical

  • NBSR & MMA through routes

  • Potential for greater truck to rail diversion?

Maine state rail plan p ublic outreach meeting portland

North-East Regional Connectivity

Source: Atlantic Canada Transportation Strategy 2008 - 2018

Current situation passenger rail

Current Situation – Passenger Rail

  • Downeaster – one of the most successful new Amtrak services nationwide!

  • Ridership is stable

  • Need to find right funding balance for:

    • Operations

    • Maintenance

    • Capital/service improvements

Looking ahead

Looking Ahead

  • Critical Corridor Approach

    • Corridors provide concentration of services

    • Corridors connect multimodal gateways

    • Gateways connect Maine to global trade partners

    • Ports & Terminals are the nodes that feed gateways

    • Corridors provide best opportunity for multimodal synergy

    • Investment in corridor services promote density, efficiency & synergy

  • Corridors provide biggest “bang for the buck”

Strategic vision passenger rail

Strategic Vision – Passenger Rail

Maine’s passenger rail system is fully integrated with the North American passenger rail system, and includes high-speed passenger, intercity and commuter rail.

Passenger rail objectives

Passenger Rail Objectives

  • Insure safety and security

  • Enhance quality of services and markets served

  • Link to smart growth development practices

  • Plan high-speed passenger rail expansions connecting to US and Canadian points

  • Protect critical corridors for future commuter needs

  • Coordinate passenger and freight rail requirements

  • Establish predictable funding source for operations, maintenance and expansion

Strategic vision freight rail

Strategic Vision – Freight Rail

Maine’sfreight rail system is fully integrated with the North American rail freight system and enables its’ businesses to reach current and future markets and sources with timely and reliable services.

Freight rail objectives

Freight Rail Objectives

Enhance services to key industries

Encourage product diversity and traffic density

Develop and expand multimodal connections

Enhance interchange between railroads

Support community & regional economic development strategies

Freight rail objectives1

Freight Rail Objectives

  • Projects must result in:

    • Partnerships – cost sharing

    • Community benefits

    • Expanded job base

    • Sustainable business model

    • Environmentally sound investments

Prioritization criteria

Prioritization Criteria

  • Two-Tiered Assessment

    • Tier 1: Prioritize critical rail corridors

    • Tier 2: Prioritize critical projects

      • Evaluate criticality of corridor network

      • Focused analysis on specific cost/benefits

      • Use measurable basis for assessments

Tier 1 corridor screening criteria

Tier 1 – Corridor Screening Criteria

  • General assessment of corridors

    • Enhance passenger/freight mobility

    • Maintain/enhance service to key industries

    • Coordinate with New England/Canadian enhancements

Tier 2 project evaluation criteria

Tier 2 – Project Evaluation Criteria

  • Criteria builds on existing IRAP criteria, asking if the project:

    • Shows a sufficient cost/benefit ratio to justify expenditure of public funds

    • Has a positive effect on continuous and productive improvement of rail service

    • Shows transportation and logistics cost savings

    • Has a positive effect on employment and economic development opportunities for rail users and communities

Tier 2 project criteria continued

Tier 2…Project Criteria continued

  • Includes a high level of new investment and private cost sharing

  • Increases intermodal efficiencies and opportunities

  • Shows potential to divert freight/passengers to rail

  • Shows a positive short and/or long-range effect on emissions (GHG), highway congestion and/or safety

  • Supports and enhances state and regional land use and sustainable development policies

  • Generates support from the public and private sectors

Funding review draft recommendations

Funding Review & Draft Recommendations

  • Ray Tomczak, HNTB, Consultant Team Project Manager

Maine transportation bond

Maine Transportation Bond

Critical Rail Corridors (new program) – $2 million

  • Intended to encourage public-private partnerships

  • Expected to leverage $2 million in private investment

    Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP) – $1 million

  • For matching grants to private businesses for freight rail infrastructure upgrades

  • IRAP investment will leverage $1 million in private or local investment

    State-owned rail lines – $1 million

  • For capital upgrades to state-owned rail lines

Arra federal grant requests

ARRA Federal Grant Requests

High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR)

  • Downeaster Corridor - $53 million – capacity and geometric improvements to reduce transit time and increase reliability

  • Brunswick Extension - $39 million -- track rehabilitation of freight lines to extend Amtrak operations to Brunswick

    Transportation Investments to Generate Economic Recovery (TIGER)

  • $23 million – acquisition and rehabilitation of Madawaska Subdivision

  • $57 million - reconnect the Port of Eastport to the North American rail network

  • $28 million -- restore abandoned Mountain Division line connecting Portland to Fryeburg for freight and passenger services

Other potential state funding

Other Potential State Funding

STAR (State, Transit, Aviation and Rail) Transportation Fund - Disbursements can be used for:

  • Purchasing, operating, maintaining, improving, repairing, constructing and managing STAR Transportation Fund assets including buildings, structures & equipment

  • Award of Federal funds for rail projects may “free up” STAR funds for other purposes

Funding review

Funding Review

  • Best practices review ongoing

    • Federal practices

    • State practices

    • Local / regional practices

Amtrak downeaster funding

Amtrak Downeaster Funding

  • 2008 Annual budget of $13.5 million:

    • $6 million Federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) grant

    • $1.5 million subsidy from the state

    • $6 million in fare revenue

  • CMAQ exemption allows Maine to use the funds for the Downeaster

    • Maine has received an extension of this exemption through mid-December 2009

  • Major Issue: Need long term funding

Proposed initiatives

Proposed Initiatives

Potential passenger rail initiatives 2010 to 2020

Potential Passenger Rail Initiatives (2010 to 2020)

  • Intercity Passenger Rail Services:

    • Brunswick extension

    • Lewiston/Auburn extension

    • Portland passenger terminal locations

    • Boston-Portland corridor improvements to enhance travel time and reliability

  • Commuter Rail:

    • Identify and protect key corridors

    • Expand corridor planning at local & regional level

Maine state rail plan p ublic outreach meeting portland

Source: A Regional Context for Intercity Passenger Rail Improvements in the Northeast

Potential intercity passenger rail projects

Potential Intercity Passenger Rail Projects

Over 80% of Northeast population lives within 25 miles of intercity rail!

Source: A Regional Context for Intercity Passenger Rail Improvements in the Northeast

Source: Northeast Rail Operations Study, Phase II, August, 2009

Opportunities for transit

Opportunities for TRANSIT

Potential freight initiatives

Potential Freight Initiatives

  • Bangor-Searsport corridor

  • Lewiston/Auburn – inland port enhancements

  • Critical Freight Corridors Criteria:

    • State of good repair

    • 286k carload capacity

    • Double-stack – intermodal enhancements

  • Possible improvements to state-owned rail corridors

    • Eastport

    • Lewiston Lower/Rockland Branch

    • Mountain Division

  • Acquisition of rights-of-way

Potential freight rail projects

Potential Freight Rail Projects

State Railroad Segment Project Description

Source: Northeast Rail Operations Study, Phase II, August, 2009

Draft recommended actions

Draft Recommended Actions


  • Protect critical rail corridors (state acquisition as required)

  • Develop approach to address 286k & double stack capacity

  • Establish predictable and vigorous maintenance program on state-owned rail lines

  • Develop stable funding for IRAP, FRIP, etc., and to match federal funds

  • Coordinate with regional partners to create national trade corridors connecting Maine

Draft recommended actions1

Draft Recommended Actions


  • Expand intercity services north of Portland to both Brunswick & Lewiston/Auburn

  • Implement improvements in Boston-Portland corridor

  • Assess regional commuter rail needs

  • Act on analysis for Portland passenger terminals

  • Develop stable funding sources

  • Initiate regional coordination for high-speed rail planning

Draft recommended actions2

Draft Recommended Actions


  • Identify strategies to enhance and integrate economic development, land use, & multi-modal transportation

  • Evaluate air quality impacts for rail transportation improvements

  • Consolidate unnecessary grade crossings and/or continue to improve their safety

Next steps

Next Steps

  • Complete public meetings

  • Additional public/TAC input

  • Continue freight shipper interviews

  • Develop rail corridor carload volumes

  • Conduct critical rail corridor screening

  • Submit draft report January 2010

  • Study finalized mid to late Winter 2010 - available at

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