Pro-rail businesses launch coalition

MANCHESTER — A nonpartisan coalition of businesses that support expanding passenger rail from Boston to Manchester launched Tuesday, the day before a House committee votes on a state transportation plan. The New Hampshire Business for Rail Expansion includes more than 50 businesses, organizations and individuals.

House Bill 2018 — the amended Ten Year Transportation Improvement Plan — includes $4 million in funding for the project development phase of the proposed rail expansion project, which would be paid for with a federal grant. The study would provide an analysis of engineering, environmental, and geotechnical aspects, and a financial plan for expanding passenger rail. 

A public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Room 201 of the Legislative Office Building at 33. N. State St., Concord.

“For companies to grow and prosper right here in New Hampshire, they need access to a younger, highly-educated workforce,” said New Hampshire Business for Rail Expansion spokesman E.J. Powers, in a prepared statement. “That means the state needs to be able retain its homegrown talent, while at the same time draw on Boston’s vast talent pool. An expanded rail system can play a key role in this effort.”

Gov. Chris Sununu, a long-time opponent of the rail project, changed course as the state prepared a bid to lure Amazon to build a new headquarters in New Hampshire. (The state was not among the finalists.) 

“I continue to have genuine concerns regarding the long-term, financial viability of such an expansive project,” Sununu said recently. “However, the recent process of drafting New Hampshire’s groundbreaking Amazon proposal has demonstrated the need to study the potential options.”

The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is among the organizations supporting the coalition, which launched the website.

“The GMCC represents more than 850 businesses across Southern New Hampshire that employ tens of thousands of our state’s residents and generate millions in economic activity,” said Mike Skelton, CEO of the chamber. “The Nashua-Manchester corridor also serves as the economic backbone of our entire state; as goes the economic output of our region, so goes the rest of New Hampshire. Therefore, economic growth along the Nashua-Manchester corridor is important to the overall growth of our entire state’s economy.”

The following businesses are part of the coalition:

36 Creative

Anagnost Companies

Battle Games

Brady Sullivan Properties

Brick River Technologies

Café La Reine

Campo Enoteca

Catholic Medical Center

Citizens Bank

Cookson Strategies

Coco Early & Associates

Currier Museum of Art

Dancing Lion Chocolate

Derryfield School

Eckman Construction

Elm Grove Companies


Gottesman & Hollis

Great Island Inn

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Intown Manchester

Keller Williams – Agent Paul Laflamme

Kelley Stelling Contemporary

Lambert and Associates – Senator Gary Lambert

Manchester-Boston Regional Airport

Marzen Group

Mayor Joyce Craig, City of Manchester

McMahon & Wright Group – Wells Fargo Advisors

MERC Sales


Mint Bistro

Montagne Communications

New Hampshire High Tech Council

New Hampshire Institute of Art

Northwestern Mutual

Oracle + DYN

Paul Bergeron and Associates

Persian Rug Gallery



Primary Strategies

Pro Drone, LLC

Raceway Electric

Randy Turmel and Associates

Reach Communications

Republic Café

Saint Anselm College


Solomon Consulting

Soujourn Partners

Southern New Hampshire University

St. Mary’s Bank

The Bookery

The Cerato Group

Unique and Chic Designs

University of New Hampshire

Ward Properties