Last Thursday the New Hampshire House approved further study of a commuter rail in southern New Hampshire.
Rail in the ten-year plan?
Representatives voted to add the study to HB 2018, the latest ten-year transportation improvement plan. Every two years the Department of Transportation works with regional planning commissions and the Executive Council to draft a ten-year plan for transportation infrastructure improvement, maintenance, and repair. The plan must be approved by the Legislature and the governor.
The commuter rail study will be funded with $4 million from the federal government.
Pros and cons of a rail study
Supporters of the study argue that rail will spark the economy, attracting both businesses and workers to the rail corridor. This study will provide New Hampshire with more information about rail’s costs and benefits without requiring any large investment.
Opponents argue that previous studies of commuter rail have already shown the cost of rail is too high. Instead, the state should look into other commuter options, such as expanded bus routes.
HB 2018 now heads to the Senate. Gov. Chris Sununu has already voiced support for the commuter rail study.
Do you support further study of a southern New Hampshire commuter rail? Let us know in the comments.