To the Editor: The Legislature should support House Bill 2018 that funds a study to access the feasibility of commuter rail to Nashua and Manchester. The study is free to the state, doesn’t require a commitment to the extension, and enjoys broad business support. Further, 75 percent of our state’s residents support rail.
For businesses of all sizes, the availability of public transit, like commuter rail, is a very important factor in where to locate. For students, an extension allows easy access to excellent U.S. colleges, allowing them to avoid having a car at school or using one much less, a huge savings to families. For leisure travelers, persons flying into Boston’s Logan can take rail to Nashua and Manchester for vacations, and persons flying into Manchester Regional can take commuter rail to Boston, a big selling point to attracting vacationers.
For the environment, rail has a far smaller carbon footprint than cars and will take many autos off the roads. For safety, rail is far better than for cars. For example, the Virginia Rail Express (VRE), which operates between Washington, D.C. and Manassas and Fredericksburg, Va., has had no rider or crew deaths in 25 years!
Commuter rail is stress-free while a car is high stress. For options, a rail commuter has far more than a car driver; sleeping, surfing computer, walking, reading, taking pictures, and enjoying the scenery.
Thus, the Legislature’s support of the feasibility study in House Bill 2018 makes perfect sense.