Portland, Maine - Commuter Rail via Mountain Division

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gokeefe
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Re: Portland, Maine - Commuter Rail via Mountain Division

Post by gokeefe » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:57 am

Agreed that this appears to be a developer initiative. I'm interested to see what the fiscal outlook is. If this service opens doors to additional federal funding from the FTA then there is reason to believe it has a chance. My assumption when reading the study is that it would never have been allowed to proceed if it would have required division of existing funding streams. NNEPRA's mildly favorable comments also indicate to me that the proposal does not present any threat to the current arrangement with the CMAQ funding.
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Re: Portland, Maine - Commuter Rail via Mountain Division

Post by Rockingham Racer » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:03 pm

markhb wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:32 am
Rockingham Racer wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:27 am
Late to the party, but I can't conceive of enough demand for this service, that a bus or two during rush hour couldn't cover. What am I missing?
Rock Row. Seriously, they're the ones pushing it moreso than PACTS (the regional transporation planning body), NNEPRA or any of the cities. www.rockrow.com if you aren't familiar with the project (best viewed in Chrome, some of the site effects don't work in Firefox).
Thanks. I still remain skeptical, though. What's the distance between Westbrook and Portland? 10 Miles? How about light rail?

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MEC407
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Re: Portland, Maine - Commuter Rail via Mountain Division

Post by MEC407 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:01 pm

The distance from the Portland Transportation Center to Rock Row (the development that has been mentioned) is only 4 miles by car or bus, and probably about 3 miles by rail, which is why I'm still so shocked by the $100 million price tag.

If the developer wants to spend $100 million of his own money, have at it. But if all he wants to pay for is the station, leaving the rest of us on the hook for $99 million, I think that's ludicrous.

If Cowford were here he would correctly point out that expanded bus service with 5-minute headways could be established AND we could let everyone ride it for free, for far less than $100 million.

For that matter, you could even build a bus-only road on the railroad right-of-way next to the existing tracks. The right-of-way is wide enough.
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Re: Portland, Maine - Commuter Rail via Mountain Division

Post by markhb » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:11 am

MEC407 wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:01 pm
The distance from the Portland Transportation Center to Rock Row (the development that has been mentioned) is only 4 miles by car or bus, and probably about 3 miles by rail, which is why I'm still so shocked by the $100 million price tag.
A quarter of that is everything that would go into the Commercial St. extension. The construction breakdown is:

Main St. Westbrook to Rock Row: $13.9M
Rock Row to relocated PTC (vaguely assumed to be near Mercy Hospital): $30.1M
Relocated PTC to <strike>a van down by the river</strike> Commercial St.: $26.9M

The rest of the $100M startup is mainly rolling stock acquisition IIRC. But, if we take out the station relocation and extension to Commercial St. that saves us over $30M and, IMHO, doesn't impact the utility of the service as much as they want to believe. Would having the station closer to the Old Port be beneficial, particularly since the reasons for staying on Thompson's Point never came to fruition? Sure. But "under the Casco Bay Bridge down by the container port" isn't really a useful version of "closer to the Old Port".
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MEC407
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Re: Portland, Maine - Commuter Rail via Mountain Division

Post by MEC407 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:57 am

Thank you for the break down, Mark. Greatly appreciated.

So the Westbrook-commuter-rail portion of the cost is $73 million. That's still utterly outrageous. It doesn't even come close to passing the straight-face test.
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Re: Portland, Maine - Commuter Rail via Mountain Division

Post by markhb » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:25 pm

Rockingham Racer wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:03 pm
Thanks. I still remain skeptical, though. What's the distance between Westbrook and Portland? 10 Miles? How about light rail?
The proposed corridor is an active (barely) freight line, so light rail would require a whole new set of tracks somewhere. Plus you're still dealing with things like station construction that are rolled into that price tag.
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Re: Portland, Maine - Commuter Rail via Mountain Division

Post by Rockingham Racer » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:44 pm

markhb wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:25 pm
Rockingham Racer wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:03 pm
Thanks. I still remain skeptical, though. What's the distance between Westbrook and Portland? 10 Miles? How about light rail?
The proposed corridor is an active (barely) freight line, so light rail would require a whole new set of tracks somewhere. Plus you're still dealing with things like station construction that are rolled into that price tag.
All the more reason to be skeptical.

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Re: Portland, Maine - Commuter Rail via Mountain Division

Post by gokeefe » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:32 pm

MEC407 wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:57 am
So the Westbrook-commuter-rail portion of the cost is $73 million. That's still utterly outrageous. It doesn't even come close to passing the straight-face test.
This is only true if you assume there won't be future extensions or other implications (for example commuter rail via ex-GT). This particular station alignment leaves that door wide open. Sure trains on Commercial Street seem crazy but I would have said the same thing about commuter rail to Westbrook three weeks ago. :-D
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MEC407
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Re: Portland, Maine - Commuter Rail via Mountain Division

Post by MEC407 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:16 pm

I'm not saying it can't or won't happen — crazy $#!T gets built on the taxpayer's dime all the time; I'm saying I could come up with no less than 100 other transportation/transit-related projects that would be a much better use of that money.
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Re: Portland, Maine - Commuter Rail via Mountain Division

Post by gokeefe » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:38 pm

I could think of ten in Maine. 100 with the same volumes and impact on congestion? Probably not. Strange times ...
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Re: Portland, Maine - Commuter Rail via Mountain Division

Post by festis » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:55 pm

gokeefe wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:32 pm
MEC407 wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:57 am
So the Westbrook-commuter-rail portion of the cost is $73 million. That's still utterly outrageous. It doesn't even come close to passing the straight-face test.
This is only true if you assume there won't be future extensions or other implications (for example commuter rail via ex-GT). This particular station alignment leaves that door wide open. Sure trains on Commercial Street seem crazy but I would have said the same thing about commuter rail to Westbrook three weeks ago. :-D
George...you DID say it 10 months ago!!!! :-D :-D :-D :-D


Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)
Quote
Post by festis » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:38 pm

gokeefe wrote:
All of the new retail and housing is definitely going to increase density ... But they just don't have anywhere close to enough to justify the expenditures. The FTA would never fund this ...

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Re: Portland, Maine - Commuter Rail via Mountain Division

Post by gokeefe » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:11 pm

I still believe it in some senses! .... NNEPRA's statement was a watershed. I don't know the whole story but I think it's an early indicator that a larger strategic decision either has been made or is about to be made. Not exactly sure what other than there appears to be a strong appetite for expansion of "fixed guideway" options ... That's government speak for heavy and light rail specifically within the transit context at the FTA.
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