October 27, 2010

Where was benefit-cost analysis for railroad?

In spite of a billion-dollar deficit in the state budget, the state of Maine has decided to spend $20 million on a railroad in Aroostook County.

All but $1 million will come from public funds. The state says the railroad is vital to the economy of Northern Maine. If so, where is the benefit-cost analysis?

In the 1900s, before the popularity of the private automobile, 13 different railroads in Maine became insolvent. Railroads have a history of failure, but no one seems interested in conducting any type of market analysis.

Transportation planners will tell you that bus transportation is and always will be much more economical. Freight transportation will continue to use state highways with or without the railroad.

Unfortunately, a very powerful special interest group seems to be pushing its agenda to the demise of all Maine citizens who bear the cost.

Andrea Lapointe


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