With gasoline prices steadily rising, greenhouse gas concerns mounting, and infrastructure debt mounting, lousy ideas like the widening of I-295 and the Gorham Bypass are going to seem less and less feasible with every passing year. So last night's PACTS meeting, at which over 100 people from all over southern Maine spoke up against new roads and for new transit services, not only makes it unlikely that PACTS will send these road projects to Washington for funding in 2009's transportation bill - it makes it fairly unlikely that these projects will ever happen at all.
So to everyone who showed up, spoke up, and cheered for transit last night - great job. You may well have saved Maine's lungs from breathing hundreds of tons of new ozone and particulate pollution every summer, and saved the globe's atmosphere from drowning in thousands of tons of additional greenhouse gases every year. That's a substantial environmental victory.
We got some great press, too: in the Press Herald, on WCSH 6, and I also saw reporters from the Forecaster and American Journal. Alec from the League of Young Voters gave a rousing reading of their pro-transit petition and handed over its 450 signatures to PACTS (if you haven't signed it yet, click here).
Our next step will be to take these issues to the Legislature, and work to rebuild the Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority into a sleeker, more innovative PUBLIC agency whose mission is to move people, not just cars. Stay tuned...