The federal Surface Transportation Board announced today that it will hold a public hearing in Presque Isle, Maine, on Wednesday, July 7, 2010, to allow interested persons to comment on the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, Ltd.'s application to abandon 233 miles of line in Aroostook and Penobscot Counties.
The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. at the District Court House, 27 Riverside Drive, Presque Isle.
Based on parties' earlier notices of intent to participate in a hearing, the Board has set a schedule of speakers; however, given that the hearing has been rescheduled, parties are not obligated to appear. Parties should confirm, by June 24, 2010, that their proposed speakers will testify at the July 7 hearing.
In February 2010, MMA filed an application to discontinue service and abandon the line. The State of Maine opposed MMA's proposal, and sought funds—partially through a successful bond referendum earlier this month—to acquire the line and preserve service, should the Board grant MMA's application. Following a June 8, 2010 meeting of MMA, the State, and Board mediation staff, MMA asked the Board to extend the schedule in this case so that the State could participate in confidential mediation over the line's future. Favoring negotiated dispute resolution, the Board granted MMA's request. On June 18, 2010, the parties notified the Board that they are at an impasse.
The Board stated that it must balance MMA's interests against the public interest of facilitating continued rail service.
Offers of Financial Assistance (OFAs) to either purchase the line or subsidize its continued service are due by July 19, 2010, but the start of the OFA process may be postponed pending the Board's final decision.
The Board scheduled the July 7 hearing in its decision issued today in Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, Ltd.—Discontinuance of Service and Abandonment—In Aroostook and Penobscot Counties, ME, Docket No. AB-1043 (Sub-No. 1). The full public record in this case is available at </a>]. The full public record in this case is available at www.stb.dot.gov. A speakers' list is attached.
ATTACHMENT (speakers' list)
Surface Transportation Public Hearing
Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, Ltd.—Discontinuance of Service and Abandonment—In Aroostook and Penobscot Counties, ME,
Docket No. AB-1043 (Sub-No. 1)
July 7, 2010
SCHEDULE OF APPEARANCES
Party / Speaker / Time Allotted (minutes)
Hon. Olympia J. Snowe, United States Senate / 10
Hon. Susan M. Collins, United States Senate / 10
Hon. Michael H. Michaud, Member of Congress / 10
Panel I: Government
State of Maine, Department of Transportation / David Cole, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation or Designee / 20
Michael James Willette / State Legislator, District 5 Representative, Presque Isle / 10
Panel II: Carrier
Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, Ltd. (MMA) / Robert C. Grindrod, MMA's President and CEO, Linda J. Morgan, James E. Howard / 30
Panel III: Shippers
Twin Rivers Paper Company LLC / Brian Sass or Designee / 7
Fraser Timber Limited / Arkon Horne or Designee / 7
Portage Wood Products / Stephen W. Schley / 7
Irving Woodlands LLC / Robert J. Penette, Vice President / 7
Huber Engineered Woods, LLC / Alan Weber, Vice President for Logistics and Supply Chain / 7
Louisiana-Pacific Corporation / Travis Turner, Manager of Houlton Facility / 7
Panel IV: Community Associations
LEADers Encouraging Aroostook Development (LEAD) / Virginia Joles, President of LEAD / 5
Aroostook Partnership for Progress (APP) / Walter J. Elish, President of APP / 5
Presque Isle Industrial Council / Larry E. Clark / 5
Presque Isle Area Chamber of Commerce / Theresa M. Fowler / 5
Southern Aroostook Development Corporation / Jon A. McLaughlin, Executive Director / 5
Panel V: Community Interests
Maine Public Service Company (Maine PSC) / Rodney K. Leach, Manager of Supply Chain and Facilities Management, Maine PSC / 5
Northern Maine Development Commission / Denis Berube / 5
The Aroostook Hospitality Inn / Steve Dobson / 5
Seven Islands Land Company / John W. McNulty / 5
Panel VI: Labor
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen / To Be Determined / 5
Panel VII: Other
Eric S. Strohmeyer / 2