Colin Woodard asks the right question in his Sept. 29 article, “Gov. Mills wants Maine carbon-neutral by 2045. What will that take?” If only his answers – “electric cars … fuel cell-driven trucks, buses and boats” – were as well stated.

Maine maintains 22,236 miles of road, pressuring local property taxes, emitting carbon from vehicles and consuming 90 percent of Maine’s federal transportation dollars.

Paving and its oil-derived components are emissions heavy, resource extractive, costly to build and rebuild and inefficient for moving people, and they pollute waterways, divert resources from renewables, drive demand for fossil fuels and represent an untenable path to propose under the bold Mills carbon initiative.

Passenger trains operating on steel railroads deliver access to workforce housing, jobs and climate change solutions that will transform our economy while aiding carbon neutrality.

Railroads are hardly a quick fix, but they are another attractive option in a rapidly changing environment that requires options. The state-owned former Grand Trunk Railway connects Lewiston to Portland, and Boston to Montreal, from the heart of downtown Portland.

Linking the downtowns of Maine’s two largest cities to create a multimodal transit link – linking sea to city to country, setting the stage for a Boston-to-Montreal regional super route – has the support of investors, regulators, Lewiston and Auburn officials, the mayor of Portland and the Old Port business community.

Let’s give workers flexibility in where they live, cheaper commuting options and less carbon. Bring the rails downtown. Because we can’t pave our way out of climate change.

Tony Donovan


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