This is a draft of an idea I'm currently working on relative to the proposed federal grant funding for the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad through northern New Hampshire.
The basis of my arguments are both economic and political....
And these are:
-New England no longer has the industrial capacity to support capital investments in railroad infastructure.
- New Hampshire taxpayers should not be required to provide a financial subsidy for a railroad that primarilly serves interests in Maine.
- Executive Councilor Raymond S. Burton is displaying questionable if not poor judgement in supporting this project.
Executive Councilor Ray Burton supports spending $1.3 million dollars of taxpayer money on a railroad line through northern New Hampshire. A railroad line I don't think is even profitable.
During the past six months I've attempted to find out why this taxpayer financed project is needed on the St. Lawrence & Atlantic railroad running from Canada through Groveton, Berlin enroute to Maine. I've spoken to the railroad company, railroad analysts and even Councilor Burton himself.
"This project will also directly help attract future rail-served industry to sites along the main line in Coos County, helping us bring new industrial, private-sector jobs to the the area." said Jerry Vest the Vice President of Government & Industry affairs for the St. Lawrence & Atlantic railroad. I explained to Mr. Vest that the papermills in Coos County has either shut down or reduced capacity negating many jobs the demand for rail across Coos County. I asked Vest to explain what new companies would use rail service and if this railroad is currently profitable. He didn't respond.
So I guess this means NH taxpayers pay $1.3 million to subsidize an unprofitable railroad to roll past closed papermills in the dead of night. I reviewed the financial statements for the Genesee & Wyoming Railroad, parent company of the St. Lawrence & Atlantic they didn't seem very clear.
"There are currently economic and industrial developments underway led by regional, state and local economic development officials." said Executive Councilor Ray Burton who represents all of northern New Hampshire. I asked the longtime politician if the railroad was profitable and where exactly these new jobs and industires would be located. He didn't respond. Later he stated the environment was a reason to support this million dollar subsidy.
"We should strive to create a North Country that is creating new jobs and growth for our future generations, and doing it in a way that protects our environment at the same time." Burton said.
Really. What a good idea.