Let's give the Maine Department of Transportation an earful at the University of Southern Maine on Tuesday.
MDOT has not yet widely publicized the fact that it is currently spending eight months to plan the future of Maine's rail transportation system – the Maine State Rail Plan.
Well, Maine, unless you look forward to another 50 years complaining about being at the end of the line, you should come and tell the state how to modernize rail and get more efficient transportation for Maine people and products.
States to our south are restoring more rail service, and our Legislature has come to realize that Maine roads can no longer be kept in repair under the current gas tax funding arrangement.
Yet people out in Windham and beyond hope that MDOT will rebuild the narrow and dangerous River Road for their daily commutes in individual automobiles from rural serenity to the city.
But unused rail corridors stretch from Portland to Windham, Westbrook, Falmouth, Cumberland, Yarmouth and other suburbs. Greater Portland can either clog up its communities with cars or restore rail service through these corridors like other U.S. metro areas are doing.
Whatever people's opinions, Maine's rail planning needs public input, not just analysis by a batch of "experts."
MDOT's public meeting for the Maine State Rail Plan happens Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Glickman Library's University Event Room on USM's Portland campus.
Be there, or stay stuck in traffic.
Copyright 2009 by The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. All rights reserved.