Leaders Debate Commuter Rail Extension Into NH


The New Hampshire legislature is considering expanding the MBTA commuter rail line into the Granite State.

State representatives held a hearing Wednesday at the state house in Concord to hear public comment from citizens on whether or not they support a $4 million proposal to do an analysis of how the rail would impact New Hampshire. The proposal would be covered by federal funding and included in the 10-year transportation plan.

The rail line would go from Boston, over the New Hampshire border and up to Concord.

Local leaders came out strong at a public hearing in favor of New Hampshire exploring the possibility of a rail expansion.

“Bringing a commuter rail to Manchester is an essential step in supporting and strengthening our community,” said Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig. “I urge you to include this vital federal funding in the 10 year plan.”

The director of economic development for Nashua also chimed in.

“It will bring new workers and create new jobs increasing property values and boosting the residential housing market,” said Tim Cummings.

One state representative said he’s been on board with a potential expansion for years.

“Why not build for that future?” asked Representative Dale Sprague. “Be progressive and hopefully, that will come back in revenue for the state.”

Not everyone is on board with bringing the proposal.

“I think that no matter what the study shows, it would be too much of a subsidy we’d have to maintain every year, even if we did put something in,” said New Hampshire House Speaker Gene Chandler.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu told NBC10 Boston that it’s not up to the legislature to determine whether or not to move forward with the rail study.