Pem Schaeffer’s Nov. 12 Maine Voices column (“Downeaster funding should be rerouted to much-needed road repairs”) overlooks several important points:

 Funds allocated to the Brunswick layover facility have been gathered from various sources for nearly a decade. These funds are dedicated to passenger rail service and cannot be used for highways and bridges.

In 2014, travelers embarking or disembarking at Brunswick Station chose the train over the bus 31,216 to 7,765, or better than 4-to-1. Brunswick is showing strong demand for passenger rail service, which will only grow once the Brunswick layover facility is completed and a third daily Brunswick-Boston round-trip becomes available.

The millennial generation is aware of the true costs of car ownership (about $8,500 per year, based on an annual average of 15,000 miles traveled, at 57 cents per mile), especially the hidden environmental costs of oil production, oil spills, congestion and traffic accidents. In addition, the average personal automobile sits unused 95 percent of the time. We’re so used to the inherent wastefulness of car ownership that we hardly notice it.

Millennials are less likely to have a driver’s license or own a car than their parents’ generation. They’re moving to places where they can live without being dependent on cars.

 Improvements to passenger rail also benefit freight rail, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of all freight moved in the U.S., versus 29 percent for trucking. The freight business needs both of these transportation modes, plus airplanes, ships, pipelines, etc. Freight is not an either-or business. Neither is personal transportation.

The automobile is not going to disappear anytime soon, but the day when we think of the personal, petroleum-consuming automobile as an extravagant, legacy mode of transportation may be closer than Mr. Schaeffer realizes.

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