The Case for Rail

New Hampshire is facing a crisis. During the next 20 years, the state’s working age population will decrease by 7.3% and the percentage of our state’s population age 65 and older will double in every county.* This lack of in-migration and aging workforce is already having a negative impact on employers who are unable to attract talented professionals.

For companies to grow and prosper right here in NH, they need access to a younger, highly-educated workforce. That means the state needs to be able retain its homegrown talent, while at the same time drawing on Boston’s vast talent pool. An expanded rail system makes this possible.

Passenger rail can play a key role in New Hampshire’s economic future.  A recent study identified that rail expansion would generate thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate development and it attracts and retains young talent.

Rail Expansion – Fast Facts

  • The NH Capitol Corridor Rail Expansion Project would expand MBTA commuter-rail service from Boston to southern New Hampshire.
  • There would be two stops in Nashua and one stop each at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and in downtown Manchester.
  • 668,000 weekday riders per year are expected – not counting weekend or leisure travelers.
  • Rail expansion offers tremendous economic benefits:
    • 5,600 permanent jobs supporting 3,600 new residential units
    • 1.9 million square feet in real estate development
    • 3,390 construction jobs would be created to build the real estate development generated by rail
    • 1,730 jobs would be created every year beginning in 2030
    • $750 million in real estate development would be added to the state’s output between 2021 and 2030, with reinvested earnings adding another $220 million per year beginning in 2030
  • Initial costs are estimated at $245.6 million, but with federal support and contributions from regional partners that number drops to $72 million
  • Before any investments are made, NH must undertake a Project Development phase, which would provide a detailed analysis of the engineering, environmental, geotechnical and financial plan
  • House Bill 2018 would allocated $4 million in federal funding to conduct Project Development, at zero cost to NH taxpayers
  • Approving the Project Development funding in House Bill 2018 would not compel NH to proceed with building rail
  • Project Development would provide the public and policymakers with critical information to make an informed decision
  • 74% of New Hampshire residents support rail expansion**

*New Hampshire demographic figures available at

**Results of a 2015 Public Policy Polling poll.