Report Highlights Economic Impact Of Commuter Rail In N.H.

Feb 4, 2015

Credit Rachel Pics via Flickr CC

State officials released the final numbers from a two-year study that looks at the economic impacts of extending commuter rail from Lowell, Massachusetts up through Nashua, Manchester and Concord.

The final report highlights the rail line’s projected economic impact to the area – more jobs, more real estate development and a rise in property values. It also reaffirms the findings from an earlier draft that a line from Lowell to Manchester offers the best value. 

The two-year analysis on the so-called Capital Corridor evaluated extending rail all the way through Concord, but found that option the most costly. The Manchester Regional Rail alternative would have a lower price tag of $245 point six million dollars for the state.

Michael Izbicki chairs the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority. He says federal grants and infrastructure from the MBTA could reduce the state’s burden in half.

The Manchester Regional Commuter Rail alternative would draw an average of 668,000 weekday riders a year with the potential to generate more than 3600 residential units and hearly two million square feet of commercial space supporting 5600 permanent jobs by the year 2030. 

Real estate development would add approximately 750 million to the state's output between years 2021 and 2030 with reinvestment earnings adding 220 million dollars 

The governor, Nashua’s mayor and other boosters were on hand for the report’s unveiling.  But many in New Hampshire – particularly those outside the Capital Corridor – say the study paints too rosy a picture of expected revenues. 

The Rail Transit Authority needs another four million dollars for the next phase of engineering project development.