If Portland wants to increase the use of public transportation and attract tourism to the area, then a true intermodal passenger hub that includes air, rail and bus service is necessary. The current “Transportation Center” on Thompson’s Point is less than a mile from the front doors of the Portland International Jetport passenger terminal, about 2,000 feet from the east end of the airport and less than 3 miles by road.

On March 25, the Portland Press Herald reported that a propane business moving from Thompson’s Point “will free up a valuable rail-side parcel where developers want to build a new event center and an expanded transportation center to replace the existing bus and rail terminal.”

On March 9, the Press Herald reported that the jetport is planning a major $312 million renovation as part of a sustainability plan.

Since the current so-called “Transportation Center” and the Portland jetport come under the governance of the city of Portland, these dual projects require combined dynamic analysis in order to create a true Transportation Center.

Runways cannot be moved, but new rails can be run; therefore, the Transportation Center should be relocated to the airport with light rail service to downtown Portland. At the very least, light rail should connect the Thompson’s Point location and the jetport. Doing this would create a real transportation center in one central location.

The Sustainable Airport Master Plan does nothing to increase or improve passenger service. There is no place for more passengers to come from, unless taken from Bangor. But both major Maine airports are spokes, not hubs; oil prices will not remain low enough to make flying to either particularly advantageous to non-spoke service.

Combining these two projects is the key to a true passenger-oriented Transportation Center.

Micah Engber

South Portland

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