Dec 25, 2009

Sears Island - MDOT's $100K search for containerport wannabes got zero responses

Looks like our lawsuits have been doing their work well: MDOT got No responses to its Sears Island RFEI (Request for Expression of Interest. This according to the following letter to the editor in the Free Press by Steve Miller: (links & map added for clarity)

"According to Maine Port Authority chief John Henshaw, MDOT "received no responses to our [Sears Island] RFEI by the November 25 deadline." The Request For Expression of Interest RFEI (34 page pdf ) was prepared for MDOT by California consultant Moffat and Nichol at a cost of $100,000.

Hired by MDOT in July, Henshaw said then that the response to the Moffat and Nichol RFEI "will help the state determine what kind of interest there is in developing a port on the island, as well as what the current needs of the marine transportation industry are, given the state of the economy. That will tell us what ultimately ought to be built there and when."

Given that there were absolutely no responses to the RFEI, it would appear that those who argue that Sears Island cannot economically support a container port are correct.

For example, Chop Hardenbergh, editor of Atlantic Northeast Rails and Ports, who spoke to the tugboat pilots organization in May of this year, said, "No new container terminal is needed in Searsport." He went on to say, "Studies claiming we need a new terminal in Searsport start with questionable assumptions, miss the boat on local need and port congestion elsewhere, over-estimate the value of rail capability, and anticipate a tsunami of traffic that is a mirage."

It is unclear what MDOT will do with the 350-acre portion of Sears Island set aside for possible port development now that it is known there is zero marine industry interest in building a container terminal on Sears Island."

Stephen Miller, Islesboro Islands Trust"


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