April 10, 2008


Study: Downeaster train an economic engine for Maine (AP, 4/10/08)

The Amtrak Downeaster passenger train will generate billions of dollars in economic benefits in Maine and New Hampshire over the coming decades, according to a new study.

The study, "Amtrak Downeaster: Overview of Projected Economic Impacts," was commissioned by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority to identify long-term economic benefits in Maine and New Hampshire associated with development along the train's Portland-to-Boston corridor. It also examined potential economic impacts of expanded service to Brunswick and Rockland.

The 32-page report concludes that the Downeaster is a catalyst for new "transit-oriented development" projects, which are compact developments of homes, businesses, parks and other amenities that are built in areas surrounding public transit stations.

"It's pretty compelling in terms of justifying the investment in rail in Maine," said Patricia Quinn, executive director for the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, which manages the train service.

The aesthetics are even more compelling than the economics.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 10, 2008 7:38 PM

Because, if there's one thing this blog stands for, it's uncritical acceptance of government projections.

Posted by: Ibid at April 10, 2008 8:03 PM

I don't see in the article where it explains who pays for the train infrastructure and how much that costs. It's easy to be enthusiastic about benefits from investments if it's not on your billion.

Posted by: Rick T. at April 10, 2008 8:56 PM

Rodger. Except for the New York-Washigton corridor, Choo-choo trains are for hobbists' excursions. The real cost per passenger mile is astronomical. It were better to buy the riders cars and let them travel like modern people.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 11, 2008 4:01 AM

Bingo! Cars are Progressive and Modern.

Posted by: oj at April 11, 2008 6:35 AM

"Don't want to get theah from heah" was the reaction in Maine. "Don't want them heah, eithah".

However, Mr. O. Judd, a train enthusiast, gushed that taxpayers in North Dakota would be supporting his daily ride (as the sole passenger) on the milk run to Nashua.

Posted by: ratbert at April 11, 2008 7:24 AM

Leaving aside the fact that we MASSIVELY subsidize cars by our Road building programs, if the idea was so economically feasable, it wouldn't need a subsidy.

Posted by: Bruno at April 11, 2008 8:38 AM