Thursday, May 22, 2008

GOVERNOR SIGNS LD 2019: An Act To Make Capital Rail Improvements for Economic Development Purposes

Councilor David A. Marshall (second from the left) watches the Governor Baldachi sign LD 2019 on Wednesday May 21st. He worked with Tony Donovan (far left) and Rep Boyd Marley (behind the Governor) to amend the bill in the Transportation Committee. The amended version of the bill easily passed the House and Senate and narrowly made it through the Appropriations Committee on a 7-6 vote thanks to strong support from the Governor.

Councilor Marshall lead the charge to block an Federal earmark funding request to widen I-295 through Portland. With the League of Young Voters, Marshall organized a Transportation Forum last winter.

During the Green Independent Presidential Caucus, Marshall moved a resolution opposing the the widening of I-295 and encouraging the expansion of passenger rail to Brunswick. The resolution was adopted unanimously.

When the Maine Department of Transportation held its public hearing in Portland for its I-295 Corridor Study, over 100 people joined in opposition.

Then over 150 told the PACTS to drop its Federal funding earmark request to widen I-295 at its public hearing in Portland in February.

What LD 2019 accomplishes:

1. Fixes the missing link in our railroad network by directing one half of the rental car tax for investment in railroad improvements to Yarmouth Junction and Brunswick. Towns and cities along railroads throughout Maine will have the possibility for passenger service and improve freight business by investing in this railroad link.

2. The success of passenger rail service in Maine due to ridership exceeding expectations and economic development will be extended to Yarmouth, Freeport, and Brunswick by 2010.

3. Freight rail speeds will double allowing Maine wood products and other goods to be exported more competitively.

4. State tax revenue will increase by $72 million by 2030 due to transit oriented developments along the passenger rail corridor.

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