My name is Peter Walsh, and I have lived in Dresden for the past 45 years. I want to highlight an important new technology that will greatly increase the use of the proposed Merrymeeting Trail for recreation, for tourism, and most importantly, for commuting. That technology is e-bicycles, bicycles that work both with regular pedaling and with supplemental electric power when needed. This technology is revolutionizing the distances that average people can travel by bicycle.

E-bikes are a viable alternative to buses and cars. Local and state governments across the country are subsidizing them for commuting purposes. On the Merrymeeting Trail many riders would be able to commute to work to and from Augusta, Hallowell, Gardiner, Richmond, Bowdoinham, Topsham, and Brunswick. In addition, many people from our area — probably most — have not experienced the unspoiled beauty of the Kennebec River from Gardiner south. Electric bikes will change this.

Think ahead 10 years. Instead of spending millions of dollars annually to subsidize a train that very few will use, Maine can spend a small amount of money to support hundreds and eventually thousands of local Mainers by providing them a bicycle-safe route from Augusta to Brunswick. In the process it will get people out of their houses, fill Main Street restaurants and coffee shops, and make central Maine a tourist destination for people from out of state.

Funding for new trains in the U.S. should go for high speed trains between large population areas, not inefficient service between small towns. We should invest in the future, not the past. The future is here now, and it is e-bikes.


Peter Walsh


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