BANGOR — A proposal to consider the feasibility of a passenger rail service from southern Maine to Bangor is advancing through the Maine Legislature.

Democratic Sen. Joe Baldacci of Bangor has proposed a study of the potential of building the rail, which could run from Brunswick to Augusta, Waterville and Bangor. A legislative committee unanimously passed the proposal late last week.

Baldacci said “passenger rail to Bangor is long overdue.”

Major questions exist about the project, though, such as how much it would cost and what its environmental impact would be. Baldacci said his proposal gives “a necessary, in-depth look at what the strengths and impediments of building this would look like.”

Brunswick is a rail hub in southern Maine because it’s the terminus of the Amtrak Downeaster train to Portland and Boston. Baldacci’s proposal directs the Maine Department of Transportation to conduct the feasibility study and develop a plan to implement rail service from Brunswick to Bangor along existing railroad corridors.

The proposal will face votes in the Maine House of Representatives and Maine Senate.

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