Lewiston/Auburn Passenger Rail Service Plan

NNEPRA Project

PROJECT BACKGROUND

In 2015, the 127th Maine Legislature, in PL 2015, c. 267, Pt. YY, approved a $500,000 fund allocation and directed the Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), in consultation with the cities of Lewiston and Auburn and Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA), to conduct a study and complete a plan for the implementation of passenger rail service between the cities of Lewiston and Auburn and the Amtrak Downeaster service. The municipalities of Lewiston and Auburn contributed $50,000 toward the project cost.

A nine-member Project Committee was established to oversee the Project, representing the diverse views and regional perspectives, and included representatives from NNEPRA and MaineDOT, as well as representatives from the Cities of Lewiston and Auburn.

Members include:

  • Lincoln Jeffers, Lewiston Director of Economic Development
  • Richard Grandmaison, Lewiston
  • John Myrand, Lewiston (replaced Rep. Jared Golden)
  • Representative Bettyann Sheats, Auburn
  • Jonathan Labonte, Former Mayor of Auburn
  • Robert Stone, Former Auburn City Councilor
  • Mary Ann Hayes, MaineDOT
  • Patricia Quinn, NNEPRA

The Committee began work on the project in Spring 2017 and met monthly along with the Project Consulting Team since the fall of 2017.

This project was organized into two distinct evaluations: (1) transit propensity assessment (i.e., ridership estimation); and (2) corridor considerations and operating service evaluations.

TRANSIT PROPENSITY ANALYSIS:

The first phase analysis involved an assessment of potential ridership. A range of ridership estimates were developed by evaluating the demographics and travel patterns in the area, by considering the potential development opportunities of a rail connection and by examining similar rail corridors across the country.

CORRIDOR ASSESSMENT and OPERATING PLANS

This phase examined the kind of service which should be provided to meet the travel demand/patterns observed in Transit Propensity Analysis (i.e., route alignment, service frequency), as well as the costs to build and operate service. The outcome of this evaluation is report including a series of Preferred Alignments for passenger rail service to Lewiston-Auburn that can be advanced for further consideration and study, associated capital and operating costs, and recommendations for next steps.

The project team considered eight possible alignments which could provide passenger rail service between Lewiston-Auburn and Portland. All Alignments were evaluated based on a variety of metrics, including mobility, potential environmental impacts, estimated cost, and implementation timeframe. Three were recommended to advanced for further evaluation, with the potential for a phased implementation as well.

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT

Public meetings were held to solicit feedback from communities on the characteristics of a potential service in both Portland (March 27, 2018) and Lewiston-Auburn (March 28, 2018).

A public meeting was held in Lewiston on March 27, 2019 to present findings from the second phase work to date.

Questions related to the project may be directed to: [email protected]