kilroy wrote:We have a numerous commuter lines down here in NJ and I can tell you the only one that does a good job in the farebox recovery stat is the NEC. While I don't want to drive 95 at rush hour (I hate it enough during the off peak hours I've driven it around Portland) you have nowhere near the cars and people we do. We don't see an 80-100% recovery rate for our system so there is no way any line up there is going to come close to breaking even. ... I don't see commuter rail ever making it up there.This has been more or less the line of thinking shared here, if commuter rail doesn't cover costs in New Jersey and Massachusetts how deep is the hole going to be here in Maine where the ridership is going to be
Streetcars on the other hand .... , have far lower incremental costs to operate and build, and would likely be a competitive proposal for FTA (Federal Transit Administration) capital grants.
At the very least perhaps the City of Portland or the legislature could commission MDOT to do a study on the matter. Up here (as is probably the case elsewhere) that really appears to be the key if you can get people to take a really good analytical look at the projected financials you can almost immediately get a good impression of whether or not the project is worth pursuing. NNEPRA did really well with the most recent study of possible service to Auburn by making sure their 'baseline' conditions were included as a requirement for service to L/A.