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Executive Councilors To Hold Public Hearings On Proposed 10 Year Transportation Plan

This is your chance to tell the Executive Council loud and clear that New Hampshire must expand passenger rail service.

The condition of our roads and bridges has been a red hot topic over the past few years.  Overall New Hampshire has hundreds of “red” listed bridges which means they are in dire need of repairs. Tens of thousands of miles of roads that new to be repaved.

What roads should the state prioritize in their 1o year infrastructure plan?

What about new projects like expanding the Everett Turnpike or widening Route 3 through Concord?What new projects should the prioritize in their next 10 year plan?

And the million dollar question: Will the State finally get on board with expanding commuter rail service to New Hampshire?  If so, how far should the rail line go? Nashua? Manchester? Concord?

Past reports showed that expanded rail service would create over 5,000 new permanent jobs boosting our local economy.

Over the next two months Executive Councilors will be holding in-district meetings to hear directly from the people on what they State should prioritize in their 10 year transportation plan.  This is your chance to tell your elected representative that you support expanded rail.

They are asking to hear from you and now is your chance to tell them exactly how you feel.  Below is a printable PDF of all the scheduled public hearings and the Executive Councilor for that district.

Be sure to share this message and invite all your friends and family to attend.  It is time we make our voices loud and clear. We want RAIL!

( For more information on the benefits of expanding rail, click here)

GACIT Public Notice and Schedule

New Hampshire Senate Republicans Blocking Rail Funding Once Again

(Image by Loco Steve FLIKR CC)

(Image by Loco Steve FLIKR CC)

Concord, NH – Today, Senate Republicans blocked the restoration of the $4 million funding for environmental and engineering assessment work, the next phase in bringing commuter rail to New Hampshire. After the vote, Sen. Bette Lasky (D-Nashua) offered the following comments:

“We talk a lot in the Senate about what our workers and businesses need to thrive and grow here in New Hampshire. And while our businesses have many needs, commuter rail addresses two of their most basic problems: a modern, safe, transportation infrastructure and the retention of a highly educated workforce,” said Sen. Lasky. “I’m disappointed that Senate Republicans have once again blocked this funding. In addition, the people of New Hampshire continue to be frustrated by the lack of effort by the Republicans in the legislature to find a consensus way forward on commuter rail when the economic benefits have been shown to be undeniable.”

“The fact that this next phase would not cost the state a penny makes the opposition to this proposal even more unbelievable. We have more than enough toll credits to complete this work, without sacrificing other projects, and the funding proposed for this project cannot be used for any other project within the 10-Year Transportation Improvement Plan. There is no logical reason to oppose this funding except for those who are ideologically opposed to bringing commuter rail and the economic boost it will provide to New Hampshire.”

Federal transit funds would make up 80% of the $4 million needed for the project, with the state’s 20% share being covered by excess toll credits.

“I, along with my Senate Democratic colleagues and the more than 74% of New Hampshire citizens, continue to be frustrated by the refusal of our Republican colleagues to act on commuter rail. But even though the Senate has once again blocked this common sense solution to move this project forward, we will continue fighting to make commuter rail a reality in the Granite State,” Laskey concluded.

“I am disappointed that the amendment to leverage federal funds for the environmental and engineering work necessary to bring commuter rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester was eliminated. Commuter rail would help improve access to the entire region, provide new housing and transportation opportunities, spur economic development and create jobs. The business community continues to call on us to take action on this and we must keep working together with members from both parties, local communities, the federal government, our businesses and the State of Massachusetts to come to an agreement to make this vital project a reality,” said Governor Maggie Hassan.  

Daniel Weeks: Time To Put New Hampshire Back On (The) Track

Dan Weeks 3

Daniel Weeks

Sixty years ago, America embarked upon the “greatest public works project in the history of the world.”  The Interstate Highway System did not simply move people from A to B. It knitted our population centers together, facilitated untold commerce and economic development, and generated hundreds of thousands of jobs.

My great-grandfather Sinclair Weeks, a conservative businessman from New Hampshire, was charged with implementing the Interstate Highway System as Secretary of Commerce under President Eisenhower. Although few men of his generation were more committed to the principles of American free enterprise than he, Secretary Weeks, a lifelong Republican, recognized that private enterprise and public investment went hand-in-hand. No private business would ever undertake a project of such magnitude, in which the costs were concentrated and benefits diffuse, for it could never mobilize the necessary resources or justify the arrangement to shareholders. That was the job of government acting as a democratic embodiment of the public will.

The lesson is simple: It is the business of American business to responsibly and ethically advance the bottom line. It is the business of democratic governments to make the smart investments in infrastructure, education, public health, and more that lay the very foundation for economic growth – not just sixty years ago but today. When public and private sectors do their job, people thrive.

That is sadly not the case with the New Hampshire legislature and Executive Council today. Following the House’s lead, the NH Senate is poised to block the biggest investment in infrastructure development and economic growth for the state in a generation: commuter rail. In spite of near-unanimous private-sector support and the approval of 74% of Granite Staters, Republicans in the legislature and Executive Council appear determined to reject $4 million in federal funds to enter the development phase of the Capitol Rail Corridor, as recommended by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Governor in the Ten Year Transportation Improvement Plan. No state taxpayer funds are in question at this stage.

Consider the costs and benefits of the rail proposal for our state. According to the Capitol Rail Corridor Study, a detailed analysis conducted over two years by the NH Rail Transit Authority under DOT, extending the Lowell-Boston rail line to Nashua, Manchester airport, and downtown Manchester would cost the state between $5-$10 million per year or approximately one-tenth of one percent of the state budget. In return for that investment, New Hampshire would leverage hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds and spur the development of 3,620 rail and real estate construction jobs, 5,600 permanent jobs, 3,600 new residential units, and nearly 2 million square feet and $750 million worth of new commercial development by 2030.

The mandate from New Hampshire businesses could not be more clear. Facing a rapidly-aging population and increasing out-migration of our youth, the state’s leading Chambers of Commerce and businesses large and small have called for commuter rail to help fill vacant jobs and spur economic growth. Their voices, and those of the vast majority of residents across the state who support the project, should not be disregarded by the legislature and Executive Council.

The Capitol Corridor rail proposal is also about preserving New Hampshire’s vaunted quality of life. For the tens of thousands of Granite Staters who make the daily commute for work into Massachusetts, and thousands more Massachusetts residents who commute into southern New Hampshire, rail would provide a convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally-sustainable alternative to the region’s congested highways. And with half the state’s population residing in the Greater Manchester-Nashua region, rail would serve an estimated 700,000 weekday commuters per year.

A project of such magnitude requires careful thought and planning to ensure that precious public resources are well spent. That is why the state legislature is not being asked to commit to rail as yet. Rather, the proposal now before the Senate in the Ten Year Transportation Plan and HB 2016 is for project development alone, including financial planning, preliminary engineering, and environmental permitting required to leverage federal funds.

For the sake of our state’s economic and environmental health, our evolving work force, and our quality of life, I urge Republicans in Concord to return to their party’s proud tradition of infrastructure investment and accept the $4 million in non-state funding for the Capitol Corridor. Together, we can put New Hampshire back on (the) track.
Daniel Weeks, a 12th generation Granite Stater, is the former Executive Director of Open Democracy and a candidate for Executive Council in District 5.

 

Pappas, Van Ostern Outline Plan to Make Passenger Rail to Nashua & Manchester a Reality

Draft financing outline limits costs to less than $5 million/year from state funds

CONCORD, NH – Today Executive Councilors Colin Van Ostern and Chris Pappas outlined a path forward for bringing passenger rail from Boston to Nashua & Manchester, along with a draft financing option that would make commuter rail a reality for less than $5 million/year state funds.

 The two discussed the outline on a conference call with Congresswoman Ann Kuster, who convened a New England Regional Passenger Rail Summit in Nashua last month, as well as business leaders and lawmakers from Manchester & Nashua.

 “Today we’re laying out a proposal for how we can make passenger rail a reality from Boston to Nashua and Manchester because it will boost our state economy, strengthen our workforce and unlock job growth,” said Van Ostern. 

 “It’s time to create a multimodal transportation future for our state that includes rail.  A stronger economy is good for all New Hampshire citizens, and even those who will never set foot on a train will enjoy having less traffic on I-93 and Rt 3 every day,” said Pappas

 “Passenger rail holds tremendous potential for the New Hampshire economy, and I am committed to partnering with Chris Pappas, Colin Van Ostern, and other state leaders to ensure that any passenger rail plan brings our New Hampshire tax dollars back from Washington, DC and puts them to use in our state,” said Congresswoman Ann Kuster.

 The rail proposal builds on the December 2014 Capitol Corridor Rail & Transit Study by focusing on the potential route which would reach maximum job growth per dollar of invested capital, and it adds a draft financing plan to make the route construction and operation a reality.

“A few years ago, New Hampshire expanded our Research & Development tax credit to $2 million/year, and our businesses and employers have benefited from that investment.  Smart, responsible investments in business growth like the R&D tax credit and passenger rail can accelerate our economic growth and create thousands of good paying jobs in our state,” said Van Ostern. 

 

According to the plan built on the findings of the December 2014 Capitol Corridor Rail & Transit Study, New Hampshire would build regional commuter rail with:

             ·       Two stops in Nashua, one at the Manchester airport, and one in Manchester’s downtown millyard area which houses numerous growing technology companies

·       Less than 1 hour travel from Nashua to Boston; 1:20 from Boston to MHT airport and 1:30 from Boston to downtown Manchester

·       16 trains daily to Manchester and 34 daily to Nashua

·       Projected weekday ridership of 3,120 riders

·       Projected 1.9mm square feet of commercial real estate development around stations

·       Projected 5,600 permanent jobs from economic development boost

·       Expanded opportunity to for freight rail (and additional economic growth) due to improved rail service

·       Allow for concurrent intercity passenger rail service to Concord via Amtrak once commuter rail to Nashua & Manchester is restored

 According to the draft financing plan outlined here, financing would:  

·       Allow private development of the four multimodal rail stations; smaller but consistent with the look, feel, and commercial opportunities of the recently rebuild Hooksett I-93

       Welcome Centers, which were constructed with no state funds

·       Partner with the MBTA & other partners to help cover costs of layover yards, trackage rights, and trains

·       Maximize contributions for the project from existing federal grants, funding roughly 50% of remaining capital costs

·       Allow the direct economic development benefits of rail to be used to pay a portion of the project costs – through either a new Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district or allow direct municipal contributions from Nashua or Manchester, as an alternative up to local officials. Under a TIF, while no new taxes will be passed or assessed, any increase in total taxes collected due directly to rising property values or business growth within ½ mile of the rail tracks and stations would be used to fund the project; with a cap of several million/year. Details will require input by both municipal and legislative leaders.

·       Authorize parking at rail stations, free in the first year of the project and then charging $6/day and netting ~$1mm/year in revenue

·       Include a 35% contingency buffer, leaving ample room for potential unanticipated costs

Additionally, an active legislative study committee chaired by Senator Bette Lasky will report results by early January, 2016, and provide additional opportunities for supplementing financing as outlined above.

 “We can make passenger rail a reality by the end of 2020 if we start right away, and we can do it in a smart, fiscally-responsible way that leverages a modest investment of state tax dollars to unlock significant financial support from private business, our partners next door in Massachusetts, and the federal taxes we’ve already sent to Washington and deserve to bring back to New Hampshire,” said Van Ostern.

 “Today’s draft plan is not the end of the discussion – I look forward to working with lawmakers who are hard at work right now developing additional public-private partnerships and financing options,” said Pappas.  “Together, we’ll make passenger rail from Boston to central New Hampshire a reality.”

 Shortly after being elected to the Executive Council in 2012, Councilors Van Ostern and Pappas voted to authorize the Capitol Corridor Rail & Transit Study, which concluded in December of 2014 and provided much of the data reflected in this proposal. (Cap Corridor summary: http://www.nh.gov/dot/org/aerorailtransit/railandtransit/documents/fr-summary.pdf)

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

High Praise From NH’s Elected Leaders After Capitol Corridor Study Is Released

Today the New Hampshire Department of Transportation released their final report on extending rail service through Southern New Hampshire. The report laid out several different options to extend rail service all the way to Concord. The DOT stated that extending the rail to Manchester would be the most economical to gain the largest impact.

After the report was released elected leaders were quick to praise the study.

“A solid, modern transportation infrastructure is critical to the success of our people and businesses, and bringing commuter rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester is another important step in strengthening our transportation infrastructure,” stated Governor Hassan. “Improving access to the entire region and providing types of new transportation and housing opportunities that 21st century workers and families desire, rail will help keep more of our young people right here in the Granite State and spark economic growth for decades to come.”

“Our business community understands the many benefits of commuter rail, and we must find a way to remain responsive to their needs by finding a consensus way forward that will build on our many advantages and help set the stage for a new generation of economic growth. I look forward to working with legislators from both parties, with local communities and with our businesses in order to continue to improve our transportation infrastructure and to bring commuter rail to New Hampshire,” concluded Hassan.

Congresswoman Kuster has been a strong advocate for federal funding for projects to repair and expand New Hampshire’s transportation infrastructure. She is a cosponsor of the Partnership to Build America Act, bipartisan legislation to leverage private investments to fund an Infrastructure Bank for financing public works projects like the Capitol Corridor project. This past summer, Kuster also convened a group of business owners and leaders for a roundtable discussion in Nashua focused on the economic benefits of passenger rail.

“Improving our state’s infrastructure is crucial to the success of our local economy, and expanding rail in New Hampshire could help bring thousands of new jobs and increased revenue to our state,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “I look forward to learning more about the various options for rail in New Hampshire outlined in this report, and I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to provide support and federal funding for the expansion of passenger rail and other transportation options across our communities. We must continue to pursue smart, fiscally sound improvements to our public infrastructure in order to support our local businesses and help our economy grow.”

“Today’s final report on the Capitol Corridor Study confirms what the citizens and businesses of New Hampshire have known for years: bringing commuter rail to NH will help maximize our regional position and spark economic growth for decades to come,” said Sen. Bette Lasky (D-Nashua). “Commuter rail will benefit Nashua and the entire state by bringing new transportation and housing opportunities—the kinds of opportunities that our businesses and families are looking for.”

“Senate Democrats want to expand opportunity for all, and commuter rail is a significant potential driver of economic opportunity,” added Senate Transportation Committee member Sen. Dan Feltes (D-Concord). “With the release of the final report, we as legislators have a choice: invest in commuter rail as an economic engine and keep more of our young people here in New Hampshire or stick with the status quo. Senate Democrats stand ready to work with stakeholders in the bussing industry, the business community, state transportation experts as well as our colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure we find a consensus, comprehensive way forward.”

“Today’s report clearly shows that the Manchester commuter rail option offers the best long-term return on investment, with a big impact on commercial and residential development in the Manchester and Nashua areas,” said Executive Councilor Chris Pappas. “Rail will reduce congestion and create thousands of jobs over time, contributing to our entire state’s quality of life and tax base. It is time to make this proposal a reality, and I look forward to working with elected officials, businesses, and constituents to support a fiscally responsible way to finance this critical economic development project.”

Extending rail service to Southern New Hampshire would reduce traffic congestion while strengthening our public transportation system and give an economic boost to the local economy. The question now is will the State pony up the money needed to extend the rail or not?

Strong Support For The Capitol Corridor Rail Project

(Image by Loco Steve FLIKR CC)

(Image by Loco Steve FLIKR CC)

Study confirms the overwhelming
economic benefits of bringing passenger rail to state 

Thursday night members of the Nashua area met to hear the results of the long awaits “Capitol Corridor” study to bring rail service to Nashua and all of Southern New Hampshire.

The results of the study were exactly as many proponents of the rail expansion have been saying for years. The new expansion would bring an estimated 5,600 new permanent jobs and would boost the local housing industry.

The Nashua Telegraph had a great write-up on the two-year study where they reported:

Expanding Boston-bound commuter rail from Lowell, Mass., to Manchester with other stops at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and two others in Nashua – would be an economic boom for the region – bringing an estimated 5,600 new permanent jobs and 3,600 housing units by 2030, a two-year rail and transit study showed.

This Lowell to Manchester line – known as the Manchester regional commuter rail alternative – would draw a projected 668,000 annual riders and would costs a total $256 million in capital costs – about half of which could be eligible for federal grants and bonds, authors of the New Hampshire Capitol Corridor Rail and Transit Study said Thursday.

“This is one of the … biggest economic development opportunities for the state,” Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce President Chris Williams said.

“The issue is about jobs. It’s about moving the economy forward,” Williams added.

Williams urged Executive Councilors and state and local politicians to “have a real conversation about how the public and private sector can make this happen. We can’t do it without you,” he said to applause.

After the results were announced, Executive Councilor Chris Pappas released the following statement:

“The study’s findings prove that developing passenger rail service to Boston would be an incredible economic driver for New Hampshire,” said Councilor Pappas. “The Capitol Corridor would spur business development and help our state attract the well-skilled workforce needed for future economic growth.

“I look forward to working with leaders from both parties in Concord to ensure we seize this unique opportunity and create an exciting future for New Hampshire,” concluded Pappas.

Congresswoman Kuster has been a strong advocate for federal funding for projects to repair and expand New Hampshire’s transportation infrastructure.  She is a cosponsor of the Partnership to Build America Act, bipartisan legislation to leverage private investments to fund an Infrastructure Bank for financing public works projects like the Capitol Corridor project.

“I’m very pleased that the preliminary findings of the Capitol Corridor rail study show a feasible option for expanded rail that could create thousands of jobs for our workers and lead to greater economic development in the state,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “After meeting with local stakeholders this morning, I look forward to learning more about the various options for new rail lines, and I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to provide support and funding for expanded transportation options across our communities. We must continue to invest in our public infrastructure in order to support our local businesses and help our economy grow.”

The project does have a hefty price tag, $120 million in capital costs, but this is an investment in our community that will more than pay for itself with fair revenue and a substantial boost to our local economy.

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