Today, the New Hampshire State Senate voted to approve Senate Bill 241, which would allow the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to access existing federal funding to complete the critical Project Development Analysis of the NH Capitol Corridor Rail Expansion Project. This phase will provide a detailed analysis of engineering, environmental, and geotechnical aspects, along with a firm financial plan for expanding passenger rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester.
“This is a significant milestone in the effort to expand passenger rail from Boston to southern New Hampshire,” said E.J. Powers, NH Business for Rail Expansion spokesman. “Bi-partisan businesses from across the state and 74-percent of residents have expressed their support for rail expansion and the role it can play to grow, diversify and strengthen New Hampshire’s economy. We are pleased to see an affirmative vote in the State Senate and look forward to the next steps in the legislative process.”
Senate Bill 241 has zero cost to Granite State taxpayers, as it utilizes a miniscule portion of the state’s abundance of toll credits to leverage federal dollars designated to fund the analysis. Once complete, the analysis will provide policymakers with the necessary information to make an informed decision as to whether to proceed with the project and in no way commits the state to moving forward.
Released in 2015, the NH Capitol Corridor Study detailed the benefits of rail expansion, which include 668,000 weekday riders and the following economic benefits:
- 5,600 permanent jobs
- 3,400 construction jobs to build the real estate development triggered by rail
- 1,700 new jobs every year beginning in 2030
- 3,600 residential units to support new workers
- 9 million square feet of commercial real estate as a by-product of rail expansion
- $750 million in real estate investment from 2021-2030
- $220 million in reinvested worker earnings added to the economy beyond 2020
Rail expansion has received wide-ranging bi-partisan support. More than 110 businesses and 74-percent of New Hampshire residents support passenger rail expansion. In August 2018, Governor Sununu and the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transportation (GACIT) included federal funding for Project Development in the state’s Ten Year Transportation Improvement Plan.
The Project Development analysis would examine multiple aspects of the proposed Capitol Corridor Rail Expansion Project, which would extend passenger rail from Boston, Mass. to Manchester, NH with two stops in Nashua, a stop at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and a stop in downtown Manchester.
For more information, please visit www.NHBiz4Rail.com.