House Stops N.H. Commuter Rail Project in its Tracks

Mar 10, 2016

The New Hampshire House has voted down spending $4 million dollars in federal aid to explore extending commuter rail from Boston to New Hampshire. The money, which was tucked into the state’s 10-year transportation legislation, would have been used  to study how the state would pay for commuter rail.

Republican John O’Connor of Derry told his colleagues Thursday to put passenger rail on the back-burner. 

“To be realistic there are far higher priority that these funds could be utilized for such as addressing many of the red listed bridges and the desperately delayed road repairs,” O'Connor said on the floor.

Last year that same developmental funding was put into the state's capital budget but ended up being removed. 

Those in favor of commuter rail say it will boost the economy and attract young workers to the state. The overall project of building these lines is estimated to cost $246 million. 

Gov. Maggie Hassan, who's backed commuter rail since she first took office, said on Thursday that she's disappointed the legislature is not moving forward with this first step. 

Meanwhile the Senate passed a bill that would allow the state to accept private dollars to pay  for transportation and infrastructure projects.