Construction of train layover facility to continue in Maine | News

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Construction of train layover facility to continue in Maine

BRUNSWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Construction will be allowed to continue on that huge train layover facility in Brunswick.

The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, which manages the Amtrak Downeaster, has already started work on the 650-foot by 70-foot building. The project received its long- debated storm water permit in early October, but the Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition appealed that permit. The Coalition says the Maine DEP didn't follow the proper process for the permit, and claims data and designs for the project are inadequate. The neighbor group says there will be too much water coming from the building, and argues it will spread contamination in the area. The Coalition made its case Thursday in an appeal to the Board of Environmental Protection.

But NNEPRA leaders told the BEP the project met the requirements of the stormwater regulations and defended the work used to design the project. Staff members from the DEP defended their work, said some of the Coalition's claims were incorrect and said the agency's engineer believed the designs were adequate to handle the storm water runoff.

Stormwater is the only aspect of the project either state or local government can regulate. A lawyer for the advocacy group Train Riders Northeast says that under federal law, a railroad project that benefits Amtrak is exempt from all another local review. Also, the land on which the layover facility is being built had been used as a rail yard since 1916 and is owned by the State of Maine.

The Board of Environmental Protection voted unanimously to reject the Coalition appeal. That means construction will continue. The spokesman for the neighbor group said they haven't decided whether to take the case to court.


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