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Hearing Scheduled in Brunswick on Amtrak Lay-over Facility

Tom Porter
Visible behind houses in a Brunswick community are railroad cars, which sit idling for five or six hours a day.

BRUNSWICK, Maine - A public hearing is being held in Brunswick today that could decide whether a controversial Amtrak rail shed gets built in the mid-coast community.

Rail advocates want a lay-over facility constructed to expand the service between Brunswick and Boston, and to prevent trains from having to idle outdoors for several hours every day, as they currently do.

Opponents - including many local residents - are concerned that the new facility will mean more noise and more pollution. State officials are today hearing testimony regarding the rail authority's application for a storm-water permit - something that's required for the project to go ahead.

Patricia Quinn is executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, or NNEPRA, which operates the Maine to Boston service. She says she's confident the permit application will be granted. "We have a great team, these folks are really experienced, they've done a lot of projects in Maine and elsewhere," Quinn says.

Opponents, however, say NNEPRA's application falls short and should be denied. The public hearing resumes this evening at 6 p.m., when members of the general public are invited to take part.