Transportation officials meet to discuss state’s rail system

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(Host) State Transportation officials will be in Rutland tonight to discuss long term priorities for Vermont’s rail system.

As VPR’s Nina Keck reports, input from local residents is considered important.

(Keck) Richard Hosking is in charge of the state’s rail program – managing the state owned tracks and coordinating efforts with the private rail companies that use them. He says any time a state agency sets long term policy, they need to get public input.

(Hosking) “Rutland is obviously a prime place to go with the rail issues and the rail yard so that’s a good area to go to.”

(Keck) Hosking says those attending tonight’s meeting will hear an overview of the state’s proposed rail plan. That plan identifies a number of priorities the state agency wants to address. For example, ensuring Vermont rail lines can support heavier loads, adjusting bridge heights to allow taller rail cars, overall upgrading of rail lines and promoting public outreach.

(Hosking) “Then the public can get up and say whatever they want for or against or in between, and then those comments are then put on record and many times we do get some interesting comments from the public that we’ve never thought of.”

(Keck) Hosking says once its published, the rail plan will become a sort of road map to direct the state on how best to support and promote Vermont’s rail system. For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.

(Host): Tonight’s public meeting on rail priorities is at 7 o’clock at the Howe Center in Rutland.

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