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About NH Labor News

The New Hampshire Labor News is a group of NH Workers who believe that we need to protect ourselves against the attacks on workers. We are proud union members who are working to preserve the middle class. The NHLN talks mostly about news and politics from NH. We also talk about national issues that effect working men and women here in the Granite State.

Sen Kelly Ayotte Says She Is Working For NH Working Families But Votes Say Otherwise

Ayotte Tries To Hide Record Of Voting Against Job Training, Higher Education, And Workforce Development Programs For New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte today claimed that she understands the importance of workforce development, but since going to Washington Ayotte has looked out for big business and DC special interests, not New Hampshire’s workers and small businesses.    

The truth is that Senator Ayotte is not being honest with us about her voting record. She supported the partisan Republican budget that would slash Pell Grants in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy and DC special interests.

“The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to millions of low-income students who want to climb the economic ladder and further their education. Pell grants cover about a third of public tuition and fees which lowers the cost of college for millions of low-income students. Pell grants have already been cut by $50 billion, but the Republican budget would further cut Pell grants by nearly $90 billion over ten years.” (Budget Blog)

Senator Ayotte also voted to cut vocational trainings and displaced worker aid by millions of dollars.

“H.R.1 also makes cuts totaling $208 million in funding for vocational and adult education programs.  Cuts include elimination of two state grant programs, the Tech-Prep program, and the Workplace and Community Transition program.” (CBPP)

In New Hampshire these programs would be cut by $33.7 million dollars. Cutting job training programs for 1,000 people and leaving 700 more who have already been displaced without any assistance. The WIA Youth Services division would have to cut assistance to 1,100 students in the Granite State as well.

Senator Ayotte also voted against providing assistance to workers who lost their jobs due to outsourcing.

“Kelly Ayotte’s empty rhetoric on strengthening our workforce is nothing but a shameless attempt to hide her record of putting outsourcers and big oil special interests first, while cutting job training programs and Pell Grants that would move New Hampshire’s economy forward,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “Kelly Ayotte has always put her special interest backers before New Hampshire’s small businesses and she always will – that’s why her special interest allies are already dumping millions of dollars into our state to try to rescue her vulnerable re-election effort.”

Who is Kelly Ayotte really working for, New Hampshire’s working families, or DC special interests?

 

New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Adopt Resolutions on Climate Change And Transportation

New England Governors Also Take Action On Opioid Abuse, National Surface Transportation Legislation, and Low Income Home Heating Assistance

ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR – Governor Maggie Hassan, her fellow New England Governors and the Eastern Canadian Premiers advanced regional collaboration on critical issues at the 39th Annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG/ECP) in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, adopting resolutions on climate change, transportation and mutual emergency aid. 

In addition, the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG) issued letters to national leaders urging action on the opioid epidemic, national surface transportation legislation and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

“From energy to emergency preparedness, transportation and the opioid crisis, we face a number of shared challenges as a region that we must work together to address so that our people, businesses and communities can grow and thrive,” Governor Hassan said. “Our regional partnerships are critical as we work to expand middle class opportunity, support job-creating businesses, encourage innovation and combat the serious public health and safety challenge posed by heroin and other opioids. This year’s sessions were a valuable part of those efforts, and I am confident that the initiatives we have presented together will help create jobs, protect our natural resources and our communities, and improve the economies of all of our states and provinces.” 

The NEG/ECP adopted three non-binding resolutions on climate change, transportation and mutual emergency aid at this year’s conference.  Every state and province was represented at this year’s meeting, with Governors Malloy (CT), Baker (MA), Shumlin (VT), LePage (ME) and a representative from Rhode Island participating in today’s CONEG meeting.

On climate change, the NEG/ECP resolved today to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 35 percent to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. This is the most recent action in a series of collaborative efforts that began in 2001, when the governors and premiers were the first to adopt an international plan to address climate change in a region and set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent by 2020 and by 75 percent to 80 percent by 2050 compared to the baseline year of 1990. 

A recent regional inventory showed that the region has surpassed earlier targets and is nearing its 2020 target, and this resolution allows the region to set an interim goal between its current success and its 2050 goal. The NEG/ECP Committee on the Environment will oversee the development of a document presenting possible joint actions to present to the governors and premiers at the 40th NEG/ECP conference next year. 

Recognizing that efficient and effective border security is critical for the economic development and the tourism industry throughout the region, the transportation resolution unanimously calls on Canadian and U.S. authorities to enhance rail infrastructure throughout the region and urges the Canadian and U.S. federal authorities to ratify as soon as possible an agreement negotiated in March regarding preclearance for land, rail, marine and air transport. 

Acknowledging that emergencies and disasters from natural, technology-based and human-induced events do not honor state or international boundaries, the NEG/ECP resolved to continue the use of existing mutual aid compacts and to strengthen partnerships and exchange of information to achieve the strategic implementation of emergency management. They also resolved to build on lessons learned from joint state-province emergency training and to collaborate further to effectively respond to HazMat incidents in the region. 

In a separate meeting on Monday morning, the Northeast Governors met to take action on the opioid epidemic, national surface transportation legislation and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). 

The six New England governors recommended to Dr. Stephen Ostroff, Acting Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that the FDA require labeling changes for Immediate Release opioid analgesics that effectively communicate to patients and prescribers the serious risks of addiction, overdose, neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), and death associated with the drugs. They also wrote to Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose urging accelerated action by the Ministry to align the regulatory approaches of the U.S. FDA and Health Canada on regulations for tamper resistant/abuse deterrent guidelines for controlled-release oxycodone products. (Click here to read the full letter to the FDA and here for Health Canada 

On transportation issues, CONEG members also agreed on language urging Congress to act quickly to ensure continuity and stability of the nation’s highway, transit, rail and safety programs and the Highway Trust Fund. (Click here to read the full Surface Transportation Authorization letter

In a letter to U.S. House and Senate authorization leaders regarding the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the six governors urged lawmakers to secure the maximum funding level for low-income families within the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill. CONEG members asked Congress to maintain the current language from the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 so that states can efficiently assist low-income households with the delivery of essential home heating oil or restoration of vital gas or electric utility service as soon as winter weather arrives. (Click here to read the full LIHEAP letter

NHDP Chair Buckley: Sen. Forrester Crossed A Line With Her Toxic Political Rhetoric

Raymond Buckley, Chair of the NH Democratic Party 

Whether Sen. Jeanie Forrester’s recent opinion piece (Monitor Forum, Aug. 26) was motivated by her continuing desire to do Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s political dirty work or by Sen. Forrester’s own political ambitions, the fact remains that her piece was as false as it was offensive.

It is entirely expected that over the course of developing a budget for our state there will be disagreements over priorities. But Sen. Forrester crossed a line with her toxic political rhetoric that has no place in any civilized budget discussion. 

While Sen. Forrester is correct that there have been regular budget meetings with the governor and legislative leadership of both parties, I understand that Sen. Forrester has been conspicuously absent, despite her role as Senate Finance Committee chairwoman.

Not only has Sen. Forrester made it perfectly clear that she has no interest in good-faith budget negotiations, but she’s now launching outrageous political attacks to distract from the shortcomings of the fiscally irresponsible Republican budget.

The Republican budget would set up our state’s economy for failure by creating a $90 million budget hole in order to enact unpaid-for corporate tax cuts at the expense of critical priorities for our people and businesses, such as higher education, transportation and addressing the heroin crisis.

Gov. Hassan and Democrats in the Legislature have made clear that they are particularly concerned that the Republican budget falls short on combating our state’s heroin epidemic, and the governor’s compromise proposal includes an additional $5.7 million to help address this critical public health and safety challenge.

Linda Saunders Paquette, a leading advocate in the fight against substance abuse, recently wrote “When it comes to combating New Hampshire’s growing substance abuse epidemic, Gov. Hassan’s proposed budget compromise is clearly better for both sides than the alternative, or in this case, alternatives.” Meanwhile, Sen. Forrester had the audacity to question the commitment of the governor and Democrats in the Legislature as they fight for additional funding to address this pressing public health and safety challenge.

Public health and safety officials have made clear that the single most important action we could take today to combat the heroin epidemic is to reauthorize our state’s successful Medicaid expansion program, and treatment providers have indicated they are waiting to expand programs and facilities until they have certainty that Medicaid expansion will be reauthorized.

Yet Sen. Forrester refuses to reauthorize Medicaid expansion today for no reason other than partisan politics.

Instead, Sen. Forrester continues to push for a plan that would create a $90 million hole in the state’s budget for years to come, undermining critical economic priorities like holding down college tuition, combating substance abuse, maintaining our roads and bridges, and protecting access to quality, affordable health care.

Sen. Forrester and Republican leadership openly acknowledge that they don’t even know if their irresponsible plan would create economic growth.

But it’s hardly a mystery what unpaid-for corporate tax cuts would do to our state. All we need to do is look at what’s happened in states like Kansas, where these Koch Brothers policies have already played out.

Experience shows that unpaid-for corporate tax cuts don’t produce economic growth, just rivers of red ink and deep cuts to critical economic priorities.

Not to mention that the irresponsible budget Sen. Forrester is pushing even raids dedicated funds, a clear and undeniable violation of Forrester’s own campaign promises to her constituents.

And while Sen. Forrester even tries to attack Gov. Hassan on funding for mental health services, it was Forrester and her Republican colleagues who suggested that the Department of Health and Human Services should simply violate the state’s landmark mental health settlement.

Sen. Forrester’s overheated political rhetoric serves only to harm efforts to pass a responsible budget.

I urge Sen. Forrester to stop trying to score political points, and instead negotiate in good faith so we can pass a budget that truly meets the needs of New Hampshire’s people, businesses, and economy.


Courtesy of the NHDP
Also published in the Concord Monitor

UFCW President Perrone: “We Will End LGBTQ Discrimination in the Workplace”

UFCW_logo.svgUFCW Vows to Fight for LGBTQ Rights at Work and Advocate for Comprehensive Healthcare for Transgendered Workers

ORLANDO — Today, Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), the largest private sector union in the nation, addressed LGBTQ union members at the AFL-CIO Pride at Work conference in Orlando, Fla. The UFCW was the first labor union to endorse the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The UFCW also implemented a policy of including gender reassignment surgery as part of a comprehensive Health and Welfare plan for union employees:

“Even though we are celebrating marriage equality this summer, too many LGBTQ workers still endure discrimination in workplaces that are far from equal. Today, in 29 states, it is still legal to fire a worker on the basis of their sexual orientation. In 33 states, a worker can be fired for being transgendered.

“Right now, the only way for these workers to gain the protection at work that we all deserve is through a union contract.

“In this spirit, I am proud to say that as part of our long commitment to equality for all workers, the UFCW is changing our Health and Welfare plan to include gender reassignment surgery. While this is a change that should have been made long ago, it is a change that I am proud of.

“The UFCW is committed to putting an end to discrimination in the workplace. We will stand up, speak out and fight for what is right when companies disregard the value of hard-working men and women, based on whom they may love or who they are.”

Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at www.ufcw.org

We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.

www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational   @UFCW

Verizon Walks Away From $550M+ In Federal Broadband Money

Verizon Only Telecom Company to Do So, Exacerbating Digital Divide 

Millions in Eight States and DC to Remain Without Access to High-Speed Broadband

2000px-Verizon_logo.svg

WASHINGTON- Verizon today became the only major U.S. telecommunications company to turn down federal funding to build broadband in unserved, primarily rural, communities, leaving many residents in eight states and the District of Columbia without access to vital communications options.  The company was offered $568 million over six years by the Federal government to bring broadband to 270,000 locations in Washington, DC, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. 

“Verizon’s track record is clear,” said Bob Master, Assistant to the Vice President of District One of the Communications Workers of America.   “Even while raking in a billion dollars per month in profits, Verizon is turning its back on underserved communities by refusing federal subsidies to expand high-speed internet access. Instead, its top priority is slashing job and retirement security for its employees and eliminating benefits for workers  injured on the job.”

In April, the Federal Communications Commission launched Phase II of the Connect America Fund.  The FCC offered major telecommunications companies nearly $1.7 billion a year over six years to provide high-speed internet and voice to unserved, primarily rural, communities.  The carriers had until August 27 to decide whether to participate.  The program was based on the successful universal service program, which ensured telephone service was available in rural communities.

Verizon accepted funding for two states where it is selling its network to Frontier Communications and rejected funding in the other states it operates.  

Verizon’s attitude toward the federal subsidies is sadly consistent with its approach in New York State, where the company refuses to avail itself of Governor Cuomo’s $500 million New New York Broadband Fund, which offers up to 50% subsidies to companies willing to build high-speed service in underserved areas.  For years, Verizon has steadfastly refused to bring its high-speed internet service (or FiOS) to areas like Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Rome, Utica and numerous other upstate New York cities, as well as much of Eastern Suffolk.  At a series of hearings held by New York State, elected officials from Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, the North Country, the Southern Tier and the Hudson Valley decried the lack of FiOS in their communities.

Campaigns in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have also called for FiOS to be built in their communities.

A damning audit of Verizon’s FiOS rollout in New York City found that Verizon has failed to meet its promise to deliver high-speed fiber optic internet and television to everyone in the city who wanted it.  During its negotiations for a city franchise, Verizon promised that the entire city would be wired with fiber optic cables by June 2014 and that after that date, everyone who wanted FiOS would get it within six months to a year.  The audit found that despite claiming that it had wired the whole city by November 2014, Verizon systematically continues to refuse orders for service.  The audit also found that Verizon stonewalled the audit process.

At the same time, Verizon has been letting its traditional phone network deteriorate.  In 2005, New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC) eliminated automatic fines for Verizon’s telephone service quality failures, reasoning that “competition” would improve services.  Instead, service quality plunged. In the 3rd quarter of 2010, Verizon cleared only 1.2% of out of service complaints within 24 hours, almost 79 percentage points lower than the PSC’s 80% requirement.  Rather than reverse course, the PSC changed its measurements, cutting out 92% of customers from service quality measurements and consolidating 28 repair service bureaus into 5 regions.  On paper, terrible service quality was almost miraculously transformed. In reality, service quality continued to decline. 

State Senator Donna Soucy Endorses Joyce Craig for Mayor

Craig also Announces State Representative Endorsements

MANCHESTER – This morning, Alderman Joyce Craig announced that Manchester State Senator Donna Soucy has endorsed her campaign for mayor of Manchester.

“Joyce Craig is the leader we need to get our city back on track,” said Senator Soucy.  “Having served on the School Board with Joyce, I know that she has long been a leader in Manchester and a strong advocate for better schools. As an Alderman, she has been instrumental in making our streets safer by leading the charge to hire more police officers and improving our city’s infrastructure.  I am proud to endorse Joyce Craig for mayor because I know she will be the problem-solver and strong leader that we need to move Manchester forward.”

Craig is also proud to announce the endorsements of Manchester Representatives Robert Walsh, Mary Freitas, Mary Heath, Joseph Lachance, Timothy Smith, Patricia Cornell, Robert Backus, and Jane Beaulieu.  She was also previously endorsed by Manchester State Senator Lou D’Allesandro and Alderman and State Representative Pat Long. 

“I am honored to have the support of Senator Soucy and Representatives Walsh, Freitas, Heath, Lachance, Smith, Cornell, Backus, and Beaulieu,” said Craig.  “We are the largest city in New Hampshire and our leader must have a more effective voice in Concord.  The Mayor’s failures on education, curbing the heroin epidemic and infrastructure have taken a heavy toll on our city. Time and again, Mayor Gatsas’s inability to work with others has harmed Manchester’s interests. During his six long years as Mayor, Manchester has missed out on numerous opportunities due to Mayor Gatsas’s inability to work with others. As mayor, I will keep an open and ongoing dialogue with state officials to make sure our city is getting the resources we need.  I will also work with local, county, state, and federal officials to improve our schools, combat the heroin epidemic, fix our crumbling roads, and meet the priorities of Manchester.”

Joyce Craig currently serves as the Ward 1 Alderman and is a candidate for mayor of Manchester. 

NH GOP Playing “Games” With Budget By Forcing Tax Cuts That “Do Not Pay For Themselves”

GOP-Appointed CBO Director Makes Clear “Tax Cuts Do Not Pay For Themselves”

Concord, N.H. – As Republicans in Concord continue to refuse to negotiate in good faith on a responsible budget compromise, Senate President Chuck Morse admitted “he could not guarantee” that the unpaid-for corporate tax cuts Republicans are pushing would promote economic growth.

Morse added, “We never came in and said, we’ll lower the business taxes, and we’ll have all this growth.”

House Speaker Shawn Jasper previously admitted that Republicans’ unpaid-for tax cuts would create a massive budget hole, writing “I do not believe that cutting [corporate taxes] will bring in more revenue, nor do I believe that by themselves they will make New Hampshire a more attractive state for businesses to locate to or to expand.”

“It’s completely irresponsible that Republicans like Chuck Morse and Shawn Jasper are continuing to push unpaid-for corporate tax cuts that they themselves admit would create a budget hole while not promoting economic growth,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “All you have to do is look around the country at places like Kansas that have already tried these failed Koch Brothers economic policies to see that all they bring is rivers of red ink and cuts to critical economic priorities.”

The Hill also reports, “The director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), who was appointed by GOP lawmakers earlier this year, said Tuesday that tax cuts don’t pay for themselves… ‘No, the evidence is that tax cuts do not pay for themselves,’ Hall said. ‘And our models that we’re doing, our macroeconomic effects, show that.’”

Yesterday, Neal Kurk said out loud what observers have long known to be true: New Hampshire Republicans are playing political games with the state’s budget and economy.

When asked why Republicans blocked funding to pay for road maintenance, Kurk told NHPR, “some of it has to do with the fact that some of us believe that there are consequences to the Governor’s veto of the budget and one of them is that things that normally would have gotten done, will not get done, or will get delayed.”     

The Concord Monitor also reported, “Partisan politics were on full display at the meeting Wednesday” as Republicans blocked transportation funding and tried to score political points against Governor Hassan.

“At least give Neal Kurk points for honesty for admitting that Republicans are deliberately seeking to hurt New Hampshire’s people, businesses and economy as they try to score political points against Governor Hassan,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “It’s no surprise that the Republican legislature’s approval is under water for the first time since 2012 considering that Republicans are now openly admitting that they are trying to harm the state’s economy for their own political gain.”

NH State Employees’ Association Blasts Fiscal Committee Over Changes To Retirees Health Plans

State Looks to Address Shortfall by Shifting Health Care Costs to Retirees

Richard Gulla, President of the State Employees Association release the following statement:

Yesterday, the Department of Administrative Services told the NH Fiscal Committee that the health plan for the state’s retirees will have a $10.6 million shortfall over the next biennium, largely due to an unanticipated dramatic increase in prescription drugs.  They presented the Committee with a number of possible solutions to mitigate the deficit – all of which shift costs to our retirees.

The average state employee pension is around $12,000 and there has not been a cost of living increase in over six years with little hope for future increases.  The NH legislature has once again failed to fully fund the promised benefits to our hard working dedicated state employees.

Let it not be forgotten that the retirees accepted and remained in state jobs with the promise of quality health benefits fully paid by the employer.  Those promises have been broken by the legislature. 

We acknowledge that the cost of prescription coverage has been increasing much faster than the average rate of inflation; however, it is unacceptable for the state to raise out-of-pocket expenses solely on the backs of our retirees. The majority of state retirees cannot afford these proposed changes. Changes previously made to the health plan, which shifted costs, have already put some of our citizens in the position of having to choose healthcare over groceries.

We stand ready to work with the state to explore solutions and look at all options; not just those that shift the burden to the retirees.  We ask the legislature to take a broader look at the challenge of providing health security to our retirees.

Governor Hassan Ceremoniously Signs Legislation Moving NH Closer to Expanding Passenger Rail to Manchester

NHRTA 1

Governor Maggie Hassan ceremoniously signed two pieces of legislation today at Nashua City Hall aimed at getting the state closer to bringing passenger rail to Manchester. The legislation will make the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority more efficient and more appealing to state agencies seeking to provide funding for rail infrastructure projects. A second piece of legislation calls for a legislative committee to study public-private partnerships for infrastructure improvements, which will be integral in the effort to expand passenger rail along the New Hampshire Capitol Corridor. Governor Hassan was joined, from left to right, by: Adam Hlasny, Transportation Planner with the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission; State Senator Bette Lasky; David Preece, Executive Director of the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission and Vice-Chairman of NHRTA; Michael Skelton, President and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce; Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau; NHRTA Chairman Michael Izbicki; and Tracy Hatch, President and CEO of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce.

SB 88 allows NH Rail Transit Authority to operate more efficiently and SB 63 establishes a legislative committee to study public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects

Nashua, NH – Governor Maggie Hassan ceremoniously signed two bills this morning in Nashua pushing the state closer to extending passenger rail to Manchester along the New Hampshire Capitol Corridor. Senate Bill 63 will help make the Rail Transit Authority (NHRTA) both more efficient and more appealing to federal agencies seeking to invest in states with well-organized rail authorities, and Senate Bill 88 establishes a committee to study public-private partnerships for intermodal transportation projects. During the signing ceremony at Nashua City Hall, Governor Hassan was joined by NHRTA Chairman Michael Izbicki, State Senator Bette Lasky, Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, Michael Skelton, President and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and Tracy Hatch, President and CEO of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, along with business leaders and rail supporters.

“Senate Bill 88 and Senate Bill 63 mark important steps in the process of expanding rail along New Hampshire’s Capitol Corridor, which could have a transformative impact on our state’s economy,” said Michael Izbicki, Chairman of the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority. “Along with helping NHRTA operate more efficiently, this legislation could help open the door for New Hampshire to seek out alternative funding sources for critical infrastructure improvements, including rail. NHRTA, the state’s two largest Chambers of Commerce, 68% percent of New Hampshire residents and a growing list of businesses all agree that we need to invest in the state’s rail infrastructure, and this legislation gets us closer to that goal.”

Along with streamlining the membership of NHRTA’s board of directors, Senate Bill 63 also establishes an advisory board for NHRTA. Under Senate Bill 88, a legislative committee will identify potential revenue sources to fund passenger rail and other intermodal transportation options. These new sources of funding could help shift the burden from the state and enable New Hampshire to invest in its crumbling transportation infrastructure.  The legislative committee has already begun studying these types of partnerships.

“A modern, safe transportation infrastructure is critical to the success of our people and businesses, and bringing commuter rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester will help ensure that our people and businesses have the full range of modern transportation options that they need, help bring more young people to New Hampshire and help spur economic growth. Commuter rail is one of my priorities for attracting more young people to the Granite State and encouraging innovative economic growth, and I am proud to have signed these two bills that represent an important part of the process to moving commuter rail forward into law.”

Across the country, public-private partnerships are becoming a more viable option for financing needed infrastructure improvements. With $1 billion in private financing, a public-private partnership in Denver called the Eagle P3 Project is helping to construct three new commuter rail lines. The Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority is developing a major tunnel and bridge project as part of the Ohio River Bridges Project through a public-private partnership. The Virginia Department of Transportation is relying on a public-private partnership to redevelop a 14-mile stretch of its Capital Beltway, creating a managed-lane model.

“These types of partnerships carry a number of potential benefits, like engaging private sector innovation to help drive down costs which can help and sustain price certainty, even in long-term budgeting,” Izbicki added.

The bill signing ceremony today comes on the heels of an announcement last week that the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC) had been awarded a $30,000 challenge grant to continue public education and advocacy for advancing commuter rail to Manchester. In an effort to keep up the momentum, SNHPC is using the challenge grant to engage key stakeholders, business leaders and the public to continue to build on a still-growing base of rail supporters.

Earlier this year, the state released the NH Capitol Corridor Study, which analyzed the 73-mile corridor from Boston, MA to Concord, NH.  The study indicated that the Manchester Regional Rail alternative, which would serve two stations in Nashua, one in downtown Manchester and one at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, would offer the greatest economic benefit with a relatively moderate investment.

The next step in the rail expansion process is the critical project development phase, which costs $4 million and consists of establishing a detailed financial plan, preliminary engineering, environmental permitting and preparation of funding applications for submission to the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Rail Administration.

To learn more about efforts to expand passenger rail in New Hampshire, please visit www.nhrta.org.

About the NH Capitol Corridor Study 

In early 2015, a comprehensive analysis of the 73-mile corridor from Boston, MA to Concord, NH known as the NH Capitol Corridor Study was released which indicated that the Manchester Regional Rail alternative, which would serve two stations in Nashua, one in downtown Manchester and one at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, would offer the greatest economic benefit with a relatively moderate investment. After reviewing the results of the study, NHRTA voted to formally support extending passenger rail service to Manchester, with continued interest in extending passenger rail to Concord.

According to the study, the Manchester Regional Rail alternative would create approximately 230 jobs through construction of the rail line and an additional 3,390 construction jobs would be created to build real estate development generated by rail. Beginning in 2030, the expansion of rail would create 1,730 new jobs every year. Real estate development would add $750 million to the state’s output between 2021 and 2030, with reinvested earnings would add $220 million per year beyond 2030.

The total capital investment to bring passenger rail to Manchester is estimated at $245.6 million, but New Hampshire’s investment could shrink to $72 million with contributions from regional partners coupled with 50% federal support.  The investment required to cover debt service on a 20-year bond and annual operating and maintenance costs would be $11 million annually.  

About the NH Rail Transit Authority

The NH Rail Transit Authority (NHRTA) was established in 2007 and is tasked with encouraging and overseeing the redevelopment of passenger rail services throughout New Hampshire with an initial emphasis on the NH Capitol Corridor. The NHRTA is administratively attached to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and consists of a nine-member board of directors comprised of the NH Department of Transportation, the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development, a member of the NHRTA advisory board, two representatives from the House Transportation Committee and four appointees by the governor. NHRTA’s board of directors takes guidance from an advisory board comprised of broad based membership from 14 cities and towns, 9 regional planning commissions, the NH College and University Council, the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and three members appointed by the governor. Learn more at www.nhrta.org

NH Legislators Speak Out Against GOP’s Anti-Women Policies On Women’s Equality Day

Rubio’s Policies for Women? Hop into this Time Machine!

Open Letter to Granite Staters

Dear Granite Staters,

Like so many of you, we’ve spent the last few weeks feeling like we were trapped in a time machine. It’s the year 2015 – and Republicans are still trying to defund Planned Parenthood and block access to critical health services for women and families. Seriously?

Recently, New Hampshire’s Republican-controlled Executive Council voted to defund Planned Parenthood. 12,000 New Hampshire women will be impacted by this decision. But the impact goes beyond those women – this vote affects their families too. State Republicans are lining up behind the extreme agendas of the Republican Presidential candidates by voting to defund women’s health clinics that cover cancer screenings, breast exams, and birth control.

Take, for example Sen. Marco Rubio, who happens to be campaigning in New Hampshire today, trying to convince Granite Staters that he is with them on the issues, but the truth is that he and his Republican colleagues are the ones stuck in a time machine.

Nearly 7 in 10 New Hampshire voters oppose Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. But not only does Rubio want to defund Planned Parenthood, he even repeated un-scientific language we once heard from Todd Akin just a few years ago.

Rubio’s long record opposing women’s health services is no secret, and neither are the records of his fellow Republicans. Earlier this month, Rubio made clear that he opposes choice without any exceptions for rape and incest survivors. Scott Walker agrees – he wants to ban abortion with no exceptions and goes further that an abortion to protect the health of a mother is a “false choice.”  And his anti-choice record proves it – the latest abortion ban deemphasizes the health of the mother. John Kasich? Yep, he signed an abortion ban with with no exception for rape and incest. And Jeb Bush defunded Planned Parenthood as Governor, taking away money that “was being used to provide family planning services to poor women, and had been available for more than a decade.”

Marco Rubio and his Republican colleagues are simply pushing policies that are not only blasts from the past, but they hurt women and families.

And their backwards views on funding health services won’t get them very far with women in New Hampshire.

 

Sincerely,

Representative Susan Almy, Lebanon

Representative Sue Ford, Easton

Representative Martha Hennessey, Hanover

Representative Cindy Rosenwald, Nashua

Senator Donna Soucy, Manchester

Representative Suzanne Smith, Hebron

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