Last night, the Portland City Council unanimously approved a joint resolution supporting a Portland North passenger transit service linking the city with Lewiston and Auburn. The action calls for the three municipalities to study and evaluate the feasibility of developing a transit service linking the communities whether through rail or other high-quality transit service including bus service. Such a service could reduce the number of single-passenger vehicle trips and traffic congestion as well as support regional economic development opportunities. This initiative is part of a broader collaboration between the cities to assist each other in addressing commuting, employment and economic opportunity goals.
“Studying the opportunities for passenger transit service between three of Maine’s largest communities is a great first step,” stated City of Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. “A commuter service could help the city achieve its sustainability and transportation goals by reducing single-passenger trips as well as enhance the quality of life and employment opportunities for residents of the region.”
The resolution directs City Manager Mark Rees to work with the Cities of Lewiston and Auburn, the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS), the Androscoggin Transportation Resource Center (ATRC), and the Maine Department of Transportation to secure funding for a feasibility study and work towards further advancement of this transportation initiative. If a feasibility study finds the commuter transit service viable, the communities would be able to seek funds for implementation through the Federal New Starts and Small Starts Transportation Programs. The City Councils of Lewiston and Auburn are expected to take up similar resolutions in the near future.