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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 plan4
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 comments8
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 comments9
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 comments10
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 comments11
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 comments12
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 situation18
Current Situation
  • Pulp & paper industry still dominant for rail
  • Rail traffic density centered in south central ME
current situation19
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 situation21
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
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?

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 objectives32
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
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
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

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 actions51
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 actions52
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