Lewiston/Auburn Passenger Rail Service Plan

NNEPRA Project

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 have contributed $50,000 toward the project cost.

NNEPRA is serving as the Project Manager for the Lewiston/Auburn Passenger Rail Service Plan (Plan). Through a competitive procurement process, VHB in partnership with WSP has been selected as the Project Consultant Team.

Overseeing the project, a nine-member Project Committee was established, to represent the diverse views and regional perspectives included representatives from NNEPRA and MaineDOT, as well as representatives from the Cities of Lewiston and Auburn.

Members include:   

·         Representative Jared Golden, Lewiston

·         Lincoln Jeffers, Lewiston Director of Economic Development

·         Richard Grandmaison, Lewiston

·         Representative Bettyann Sheats, Auburn

·         Jonathan Labonte, Former Mayor of Auburn

·         Robert Stone, Former Auburn City Councilor

·         Mary Ann Hayes, MaineDOT

·         Patricia Quinn, NNEPRA

 

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

The first 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.  The Project Committee met monthly and has been involved in evaluating the demand of passenger rail between L-A and Portland.  Click here for a summary of findings.

The second evaluation will include the development of Service Scenarios, an assessment of infrastructure needs and costs to support various service scenarios, and a potential plan for implementation.  This phase is currently underway with a summary of findings expected to be complete in March 2019. 

A public meeting will be held to present findings of both phases and to seek input.  Information will be updated when it is available.