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USDOT to help keep Maine line open for shippers, Sen. Collins says


On March 4, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced the U.S. Department of Transportation agreed to work with state and local officials to maintain service on a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Inc. (MMA) line that’s slated for abandonment. The Federal Railroad Administration will work with the state to develop a plan to keep the northern Maine route open for 22 shippers that “directly rely on the rail line,” said Collins, a Senate Appropriations Committee member, in a prepared statement.

MMA recently filed a notice of intent with the Surface Transportation Board to abandon 233 miles of track in Aroostook and Penobscot counties because of high operating costs and low traffic volumes. The 745-mile regional is the only freight-rail service provider in Aroostook County, which is home to pulp and paper, agricultural and potato processing businesses.

The line’s abandonment “would have a devastating impact on the economy of Aroostook County and state of Maine” given the county’s “already steep” 9.8 percent unemployment rate, said Collins.

“All parties involved agree that in order to make this line work, it will take an investment of capital whether from state, federal and private sources,” she said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/9/2010