The Politics of Positive


In NH politics I think it’s easy to become cynical and negative. Regardless of what the issues are or what the campaigns say or don’t say, anyone that has spent time in the Statehouse knows what I mean.

A day at the Statehouse:

Lobbyists, agendas, ideas, legislation and more lobbyists. Deal making in the hallways of the LOB. More legislation. Lobbyists and more ideas. And like former Deputy Speaker Stacey Cole used to say “Two things in this world you don’t want to see get made. Policy and sausage.”  And all in a day's work.

So where am I going with this?  

I’m interested in transportation issues in New Hampshire and the Northeast. And more specifically rail and its important role. I’m very critical and I think at times negative towards some of the projects in New Hampshire including the NH Rail Authority. I think much more could be done but for political reasons it isn’t.

In any case, several days ago I was reading the Laconia Evening Citizen Newspaper about the Executive Councilor Ray Burton “Railroad Promotion and Marketing Day.” This is a train that runs from Laconia to Plymouth. It has a catchy title but it’s a campaign train.

It would be negative for me to attack the very idea of this train. It’s probably even more negative for me to attack the NH Rail Authority. And the reason is because not only have I not challenged either of these positions tactically or strategically, I have not advanced a viable alternative to their ideas and positions.

Today this starts to change.

In the next several weeks and months I hope to blog several articles related to rail and policy in New Hampshire. I’ll outline several projects and demonstrate why they would be successful. This will include, as applicable, the underlying financial analysis. The end question will be hopefully answered as to why NH taxpayers are making a good investment in the described rail project, and how rail ultimately leads to taxbase and jobs for New Hampshire.

My first stop in this venture I think is going to be the Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia. A deepwater port, one of only two on the east coast that can accept high-density container ships for both import and export markets. The movement of containers is a profit center for railroads and New Hampshire has a strategic route that could facilitate this.

This video below beyond the explanation shows a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) intermodal train. It’s called intermodal because the double stack containers have moved on one or more modes of transportation. It’s not uncommon for a container to move from ship to railcar and then to truck for its final destination. This is intermodal.

This is the same BNSF railroad that is being purchased by investor Warren Buffett. The media reports states that he is basing his investment on “U.S. economic recovery.”

There is some risk involved.