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(Notes

for NNEPRA board meeting regarding location of train layover facility) Good evening. My name is Benet Pols. I am a town councilor in Brunswick representing District 7. The eastern edge of my district travels from Spring St, along the south side of Weymouth Street to Stanwood and back to McKeen Street. So the fringe of my district is about a half-mile from the building you propose to build at Bouchard drive. The last time we were all in this meeting room together we heard from a gentleman who lives out in the Wildwood neighborhood off the Gurnet Road. He pointed out that his neighborhood, and his home, would not be directly affected no matter which site you choose for the layover facility. Nonetheless he felt that anything that was so bad for one part of Brunswick was necessarily bad for the whole town. This is the perspective from which Id like to speak tonight, but, at the same time, from perspective of someone who has worked long and hard to help bring the train back to Brunswick. If you cant build this layover facility at the alternate site, the Crooker site, you shouldnt build it in Brunswick at all. The only benefit this layover facility provides to the town of Brunswick is a strategic one. That is, even if train ridership numbers dont justify continuing service to Brunswick Amtrak will continue it anyway. Because the rail barn will be here the trains will still run to Brunswick even if empty. At the very least, youll still run the morning train out and the late train back. I guess you could call this a benefit even if there are no tax benefits and no real job creation. We have worked hard for years to bring train service back to Brunswick. Many people question the value and the validity of extending the service. No doubt you are familiar with the asphalt and rubber tire aficionados who say that the era of rail is over. They resent the massive taxpayer subsidies for public transportation in general, and for rail in particular. These people may well ask why will you run four empty trains to and from Brunswick when two empty trains will carry all the passengers. But not Brunswick. We have struggled to provide a venue for the return of train service, a reason for the train to come here. I think some members of the board will remember that Auburn hoped the Downeaster would be extended their way, but Brunswick was ready. Brunswick built a train station and a hotel. We are a party to a joint development agreement with the developer of this facility where we sit right now. What people may not recall is how hard Brunswick had to push the developer of this facility to set aside space in this facility for a train station, a lobby

area that goes beyond the usual platform and ticket vending machine. We basically sweated the developer for that space downstairs next to the platform where the visitors center is. I was on the planning board that approved this complex. The developer wanted to maximize the available rental space. Town staff, the planning board and many interested citizens pushed back long and hard to make sure space was reserved for a real train station and space preserved for taxis, buses and parking. Of course, we then had to rent the space too. We used 220,000 dollars from the Brunswick Development Corporation to rent the space for five years. The town of Brunswick is paying rent in this building so that we can have a train station ready for you. And frankly, it was a good thing we muscled the train station space out of the developer. As part of the towns obligation under the joint development agreement we provided extensive site work, environmental remediation and infrastructure work on this site. Our financial obligation and commitment was high. A portion of the environmental clean up was met through an EPA Brown Fields grant but we were prepared to bond an additional $2m for this project. We also counted on a pending EDA grant we thought had been approved for about 850,000. In the spring of 2009, this grant was in jeopardy. Though wed been led to believe the grant was a sure thing, last minute problems appeared in the application. The regional director of the EDA believed the project to be simply a retail and hotel project and thus not qualify for the grant. I was with our town manager during conference calls with folks at the EDA in Washington and Philadelphia as we re- emphasized the multi-modal transit aspect of this project. And most important re- emphasized the towns commitment to the project as a multi-modal facility. Upon our representation that the town was committed to completing the project, and that it was in a multi-modal transit project with associated retail and hotel projects, the grant was finally approved. ($902,500.00) We did all this for you, so that NNEPRA could extend its service to town. Its fair to say that our commitment to this project justified the grants you folks have received to rehabilitate the tracks from Portland north and extend the service here. Without Brunswicks commitment, you would not be able to extend Amtrak service here. You might instead have been looking at Auburn. That is something you should consider as you decide whether or not to drive this square peg into the round hole of the Bouchard Street neighborhood. One of my fellow councilors was quoted as saying that the town council had to stay out of this dispute in order to avoid souring our relationship with NNEPRA.

I think that is backwards. You should be worried about souring your relationship with us. You should be considering the last impression youre going to be making on the people of the town of Brunswick. Weve been advocating this project for years and now it seems that you are willing to force this layover facility on us simply because you can. Federal pre- emption is a powerful weapon, it should be used sparingly because it is the image you will leave behind: that of an aggressive bully. This is what well remember when Rockland, or Augusta or Bangor asks us about the train coming to Brunswick. Remember also that our professional staffers are mainly just here to do a job. They came from somewhere else seeking professional advancement; theyll move on soon enough. Dave Markovchick, with whom Ms. Quinn first made this deal for the Bouchard site, has already moved on to practice his bureaucratic art elsewhere. But Councilors Perreault and Atwood who represent the Bouchard drive folks and Councilor Watson who represents the Crooker site will be here a long, long time. So will I, and so will all the other citizens you see here. Last, Federal Pre-emption is a creature of the law; it allows you to subvert local control and local laws. Id like to take a minute to talk about the difference between a comprehensive plan and a zoning ordinance. This is an argument that may appeal to only the lawyers among you. A comprehensive plan is merely a guide, a road map, as it were, to help guide future development. It does not have the force of law, even on local issues. Its what we hope for, not what is required. A zoning ordinance however, is different. It is a law, a set of regulations adopted by the local legislative body. It has the force of law. It is a requirement. Town staff has told you, that the Crooker site is inconsistent with our comprehensive plan, while the Bouchard site is not. Perhaps this opinion is meant to serve as a balm of sorts to assuage any bad feelings you may have as you cram this thing in where it is not welcome. What is missing is the fact that your use of the Crooker site is, in fact, consistent with local law---the zoning code, while the Bouchard site is not. You would not even need a variance to build on the Crooker site. You could build a 250,000 square foot building on the Crooker site without so much as a request for a variance. You would not even need to breath the words Federal Pre- emption much less swing that cudgel through an old an established neighborhood. So you should not do it. Thank you.

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