I write regarding “Downeaster to boost Brunswick service by building new track” (Aug. 17).

Plans to spend another nearly $10 million on the Portland North Downeaster extension, on top of the nearly $60 million spent to date, are a monumental waste of taxpayer money.

Why? Because the proposed siding is wholly unnecessary. If you read my July 3, 2015 post on the blog “The Other Side of Town,” you’ll see that the proposed project would add siding between Control Points 185 and 189 on the existing rail system.

This would change that track segment to one that is dual-track. But you’ll also note that just 2.9 miles to the south, there is already a dual-track segment 1.9 miles long, between Control Points 192 and 194.

The existing dual-track segment could be used to allow the passage of trains as planned for the new $10 million segment, eliminating that expenditure and accommodating the proposed service expansion immediately.

Why isn’t that approach being taken? You’ll have to ask TrainRiders/Northeast, the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority and our elected officials, who, to the best of my knowledge, have never considered this alternative or any other.

It’s simply too easy to spend large amounts of other people’s money, too much fun and too satisfying to one’s sense of empire building.

Pem Schaeffer

Brunswick