Several days ago I was reading the St. Johnsbury, VT based Caledonian Record Newspaper and an editorial opposed to the $50 million dollar stimulus funding for the Amtrak Vermonter between St. Albans and Brattleboro, Vermont.
I’m currently working on a response and I hope to demonstrate this stimulus investment will lead to long-term economic development and jobs for both Vermont and New Hampshire.
And the reason incidentally, has nothing to do with Amtrak. It’s because of the freight railroads that transit this line. Namely, the New England Central Railroad and Pan Am Southern. I’m still in very much draft stages with this but I hope to make an argument about freight rates and how this stimulus will ultimately improve freight rates thus making a better business environment for industries like the Maine paper manufacturers which, in turn, will create jobs locally and markets for its paper globally.
I’m also going to attempt to show how Vermont is being proactive towards rail as transportation policy, while New Hampshire continues on a well established policy of reactive to do-nothing rail policy.
I’ve found a clear example of this on UTUBE.
That’s right slurry. This is the chemical composition used to create paper. This is a slurry train that originated from near Rutland, Vermont. Its destination is to the paper mills in Maine. If you notice on the video this train had to go all the way to New York State before heading east to Maine. If the tracks of the Amtrak Vermonter were improved this would be a faster and more direct route to Maine. The end result of this:
Lower Variable Costs= Greater Competitive Advantage.
Better Transportation Policy= Economic Development and Jobs.
Too bad New Hampshire isn't doing any of this. And another reason I'm opposed to the nomination of Commissioner George Bald.
Source: Slurry Train. 1/24/10.