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PRELIMINARY STUDY ON MAINE RAIL ABANDONMENT RELEASED PUBLIC INPUT SOUGHT ON PROJECTED HIGHWAY TRAFFIC INCREASE




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>From the Surface Transportation Board, Washington, D.C.
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The Section of Environmental Analysis at the Surface Transportation Board
today issued a draft environmental assessment on the proposed abandonment
of 233 miles of rail line in the northern Maine counties of Aroostook and
Penobscot. The draft review found that the abandonment of this line could
divert onto Maine's highways as many as an additional 73,344 truck trips
per year, consuming an additional 3.3 million gallons of fuel per year.

               However, the draft review, which estimated it would take
               four trucks to replace every rail car, found that the
               diversion of rail traffic onto trucks would appear to be
               "within the level of traffic allowed by area roads." The
               draft also recommended steps to reduce the impact of the
               rail salvage operation that would follow any abandonment.

               The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway has asked the Surface
               Transportation Board to approve the abandonment of the lines
               because they do not generate enough revenue. The Maine
               Department of Transportation and congressional
               representatives have asked the STB to study the impacts of
               any abandonment and to hear from local shippers and
               residents.

               The conclusions and recommendations in the study are
               preliminary. The Section of Environmental Analysis welcomes
               and encourages public comments on all aspects of its draft
               environmental assessment. Write to: Surface Transportation
               Board, Case Control Unit, Washington, DC 20423, attention
               Diana Wood. Comments can also be submitted through the
               Board's Web site at www.stb.dot.gov by clicking on
               "E-Filing" In all communications, please reference Docket
               No. AB 1043 (Sub-No. 1).

               To further reach out to those who would be affected by this
               matter, the full Surface Transportation Board has scheduled
               a public hearing at the District Courthouse in Presque Isle,
               Maine, on May 10 at 9 a.m. The Board specifically wants to
               hear public feedback on the effects the abandonment and
               additional truck traffic would have on local and state
               roads. The Board will take public comments and the full
               environmental record into consideration when making a final
               decision.

               The Draft environmental assessment was issued today in the
               proceeding titled titled Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway,
               Ltd – Discontinuance of Service and Abandonment – In
               Aroostook and Penobscot Counties, Maine, STB Docket No.
               AB-1043 (Sub No.
               1)( http://www.stb.dot.gov/decisions/readingroom.nsf/WebDecisionID/40646?OpenDocument )

               . The draft environmental assessment can be found at
               www.stb.dot.gov, under "Environmental Matters" then under
               "Key Cases."
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