June 23, 2018
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Panel, consultant to study feasibility of public transportation in midcoast

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — A group working to bring public transportation to the Rockland area will hold its first meeting Thursday with a consultant hired to study the feasibility of the concept.

The Midcoast Transit Committee is scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. at the Rockport Town Office with a representative of Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates.

The consulting firm has been awarded a $60,000 contract to determine the feasibility of a public transportation system along Route 1 from Thomaston to Camden. The firm was the successful bidder in the Midcoast Transit Committee’s process late last year.

“This study is the culmination of hours of conversation and months of meetings as to whether the Camden-Thomaston Route 1 corridor is ready for a direct transit service,” Don White, chairman of the committee, said in a news release. “Our preliminary indications find many people of all ages would benefit from a daily transit service. The study will determine if such a service would be economically feasible both to the service and area businesses.”

The current plan began with a group of interested citizens who met in October 2011 at the Rockland Public Library to discuss the future of daily transit in the area. The original meeting was hosted by local public transit advocate Tim Sullivan and Lee Karker of Coastal Trans Inc.

Monthly meetings continued, resulting in the present committee comprised of two delegates from each of the four involved communities and other interested parties throughout the area. The transit study is funded by the Maine Department of Transportation, Coastal Trans and local matching contributions of $1,650 each from Camden, Rockport, Rockland and Thomaston.

Daily transit could take on several forms from buses to vans, and different demand features, according to the committee’s news release.

The area is served now by Coastal Trans, which provides non-emergency transportation in the area for the elderly, people with disabilities and low-income residents around Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties.

White pointed out that public participation sessions will likely take place in each of the four communities during the study.

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