WASHINGTON — The Surface Transportation Board will hold a public hearing this spring in Maine on the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway’s application to abandon 233 miles of rail line in Aroostook and Penobscot counties.
STB officials said they decided to hold a public hearing in Maine to allow citizens and stakeholders to provide testimony on the effect of the proposed abandonment. The hearing will be scheduled after the April 26 deadline for the written record but before the end of May, officials said.
The STB will announce details on the exact time and place for the hearing in the near future.
“This proposed abandonment would affect many shippers and the local and regional economy and it is important that the Board hears from as many voices as possible,” said STB Chairman Daniel R. Elliott III. “The best way to do that is for Washington to go to Maine instead of Maine coming to Washington.”
The state of Maine officially requested a public hearing on March 4. Shippers and elected representatives from Maine — including Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Rep. Michael H. Michaud, D-Maine, and James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure — echoed the call for a public hearing, the STB said in a news release.