Wednesday, January 21, 2015

High Speed Rail: Taking Brunswick West's Bouchard Drive Residents and All of Us for a Ride

If anyone's thinking high speed rail doesn't affect Maine, it's time to take a look at master plans in the works. And these planners don't really want input from the people; we'll be placated in thinking we have a say in the green railroad transportation plans, but we don't. As evidenced by the website information, all they want is taxpayers' money (as Mr. Poppycock calls OPM "other people's money", othersideofbrunswick.blogspot) and getting the taxpayers' buy-in through a "change in social consciousness" for a railroad transportation system to personally profit from, while taking away our freedom of choice.

Here's the long-term plan map for high speed rail, 

 Note the marketing (propaganda) from the site:
"The future is now, and it's in high speed rail."
"High speed rail = high tech jobs + big construction + real estate development + manufacturing + tourism + speedy efficient transportation for all."
"88% of Americans support high speed rail."
"There's no reason why Europe or China should have the fastest trains." President Obama

The targeted 2030 completion is to occur in phases, and includes a "complete sustainable transportation system for America", of which other components of the system are connecting regional and commuter rail, light rail, streetcars, trams, electric buses, and bicycles to create a linkage for 80% of Americans at a cost of about $500 billion (

Under Transportation for America (TFA) vision, taxpayers are to provide the national investment.

The current infrastructure of roads, highways, bridges and dependence on fossil fuel energy sources is deemed "unsustainable" under Agenda 21; therefore, it's noted privately-owned cars are not included in the transportation picture nor the list above.

Looking at the microcosm represented by the events surrounding Brunswick's Bouchard Drive neighborhood whose residents live less than 100 feet from Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority's (NNEPRA, Brunswick/Portland/Boston) proposed 60,000 square-foot Amtrak Train Maintenance and Layover Facility (MLF), it seems a large mechanism is in place, and has been in place for which these residents have no significant impact to compel nor change.

According to the website, TrainRiders Northeast ( ) is a non-profit "grass roots", volunteer organization whose mission is to bring modern and efficient passenger rail service to Northern New England, and to educate the public about the benefits of passenger trains and the necessity of moving away from our dependence on highways and airways. Given the mission, number of elected officials on all levels of government seemingly in support, and the amount of funding available, this sounds strangely aligned with the High Speed Rail goals in tandem with Agenda 21; therefore, it's easy to question the genesis and evolution of such a "grass roots" organization.

It also begs the question of why would people want to place the MLF adjacent to a residential area when there are valid concerns regarding safety, pollution, noise, coal ash, and toxins. It's my understanding none of the people aligned with the proposed MLF will be living in the Bouchard neighborhood adjacent to the proposed MLF. Qui bono? (Who benefits?).

Inverse condemnation is a term recently coming to my attention by Laurie Allen ( ). Inverse condemnation sounds relatively new [referring to SCOTUS Nullan v. California Coastal Commission (CCC) 1987, 5 to 4 ruling finding a requirement by CCC was a taking in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments], and basically, my understanding is that a governmental entity may have intentionally (or accidentally in some cases) engaged in inverse taking private property without compensation, or taking by damaging of private property; but unless the property owner becomes the plaintiff by filing a lawsuit, the government can continue the taking/damage without compensation to the property owner. Laurie Allen's situation and another she'd mentioned in her blogspot are very concerning:

It bears repeating (as written in Revealing the Hydra, Jan. 16, 2015), the majority of the people have no money to take a case to court. The Town of Brunswick also appears aware; it's acted similarly, including but not limited to the 1970's "Twelve Rod Road" issue negatively impacting several private property owners.

Nevertheless, the following information was found (Inverse Condemnation and Regulatory Takings ) which may or may not be applicable to the Bouchard neighborhood, but bears mentioning:

"While it seems improbable that a government entity can take private land without using eminent domain or compensating you, it does occasionally happen. If property has been acquired without the use of condemnation proceedings, the law provides relief in what is called inverse condemnation. Inverse condemnation occurs when the government takes property and intentionally or accidentally fails to bring a condemnation action in court that would require compensating the owner.

The most obvious form of inverse condemnation is when the government physically builds a project, such as a road, on your property. However, inverse condemnation is not limited to the physical taking of property. It can occur when the government creates a nuisance, such as building a sewer treatment plant or airport near a property that interferes with the quiet use and enjoyment of that property. Or, the government can pass a regulation, such as a zoning ordinance, that deprives the owner of the economic use of the property. Simply put, these actions have negative impacts on the value of the property for which the property owner may be entitled to compensation."

Given the above, one cannot help but to offer a voice of support and hope to the Bouchard neighborhood residents that a viable solution will occur from a positive outcome at the DEP hearing in March ("State sets hearing on permit for Brunswick train barn" ). But also given the above, it seems the hearing may be just another example and a flag of insidious gradualism (two steps forward, one step back). Other flags include that public comments will be in a separate portion from the hearing, and even The Forecaster appears to belittle the residents concern by using semantic dialectic in referring to the MLF as the "Brunswick train barn". Rinse, and repeat.

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