State To Tap Into Stimulus For Rail Service 

With optimistic thoughts, the director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority believes that federal stimulus money will be granted to expand Amtrak’s Downeaster north to Brunswick. Two proposals for $36 and $ 39 million would tap into the stimulus money for high speed passenger rail service, according to Patricia Douglas. There are two different timetables, but the faster path calls for 30 miles of track to be completed within two years. Not only is a decision anticipated this winter, but the state also applied for a $52 million grant to upgrade tracks between Portland and Plaistow, N.H.Ridership on the Downeaster, which runs from Portland to Boston,is down about 7 percent this year. Douglas says that’s because of the economy and that the service remains healthy.