An Act To Create the Rail Corridor Use Advisory Council Process
Sec. 1. 23 MRSA §75 is enacted to read:
§ 75. Rail corridor use advisory councils
Sec. 2. 23 MRSA §7107, as enacted by PL 2003, c. 498, §4, is amended to read:
§ 7107. Dismantling of state-owned track or other nonrail use
Except as provided in this section, the Department of Transportation may not dismantle or change state-owned track or contract with a state agency or private entity for the dismantling of state-owned track or making other changes to that track for a nonrail use. When the department, in consultation with a regional economic planning entity and a regional transportation advisory committee established in accordance with rules adopted under section 73, subsection 4, determines that removal of a specific length of rail owned by the State will not have a negative impact on a region or on future economic opportunities for that region, If the Commissioner of Transportation receives a report from a rail corridor use advisory council established under section 75 that includes a recommendation of track removal or another change to a nonrail use and the commissioner concurs with that recommendation, the commissioner shall seek review by legislative approval of the recommendation by submitting legislation to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over transportation matters prior to removal or the other change to a nonrail use. Legislation submitted under this section must include language stating that any track removal or other nonrail use is considered interim in nature and that the rail corridor will be preserved for future rail use as provided under this chapter.
This bill authorizes the Commissioner of Transportation to convene a rail corridor use advisory council to advise and make recommendations each time one or more governmental entities that represent communities along a state-owned rail corridor request the Department of Transportation to review a nonrail use of that rail corridor, as long as any nonrail use is considered to be interim in nature and that all such rail corridors are preserved for future rail use. Upon receiving a report from a rail corridor use advisory council that recommends track removal or another change to nonrail use of the rail corridor, the commissioner is required, if the commissioner concurs with the recommendation, to seek legislative approval of the recommendation by submitting legislation to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over transportation matters prior to removal or another change to a nonrail use.