Rail Use Advisory Council (RUAC) FAQ

What is a Rail Use Advisory Council?

Under the authority of LD1133, the MaineDOT Commissioner establishes Rail Use Advisory Councils (RUAC) to review the future use of deactivated rail corridors. The Advisory Council reviews and makes recommendations on the likelihood, economic benefits, and costs of different uses of the rail corridor to the Commissioner. These different uses include but are not limited to rail use, rail with trail use, or trail use.

What is the Calais Branch Corridor?

The Calais Branch corridor is a nearly 13-mile MaineDOT-owned deactivated railroad line. The line runs from the intersection of the Down East Sunrise Trail (DEST) and Ayers Junction Rd. tojust before Calais at Rt. 1. If established as a trail, it would serve as the final extension of the DEST and bring the now-87-mile trail to Calais. It would also serve as an off-road variation of the East Coast Greenway to its terminus in Calais.

What is the RUAC’s timeline?

The RUAC is a 9-month process that began in March 2024. The Council meets once on the fourth Wednesday of each month from 11:30 am-1:30 pm, or more frequently if necessary. These meetings are webinar-style and open to the public to watch, offer public comment, and ask questions. By the end of the nine months, the Council will put together a recommendation for the Commissioner that advocates for their stance on how the railbed should be used.

How can I be involved?

The public is encouraged to watch, contribute to, and ask questions in the monthly RUAC virtual webinar-style meetings. They are recorded and available to watch online. The Council will also organize an in-person public meeting where people are encouraged to come and share their perspectives. Additionally, the Council is taking public comment via the Calais Branch, Rail use Advisory Council’s webpage. The links are below:

MDOT Project Link: Calais Branch, Rail use Advisory Council (arcgis.com)

Public Comment Link: Maine Public Forms (mainedotpima.com)

Who are the members of the RUAC?

  1. Joe Higgins, Supervisor Off Road Recreational Vehicle Program, DACF
  2. Jeff McCabe, Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation
  3. Tony Cameron, CEO of Maine Tourism Association
  4. Mark Carr, Calais
  5. Colin Brown, Pembroke
  6. Peter Knowles, Charlotte
  7. Ray Faulkner, Baring Plantation
  8. Alvion Kimball, Sunrise Trail Coalition
  9. Nate Moulton, MaineDOT
  10. John Magera, Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge
  11. Tanya Rucosky, Sunrise County Economic Council

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