Good Idea Now Just Go Away

 

Like the evil morph from hell the idea of commuter rail in southern NH refuses to die.

Today’s edition of the Union Leader there is article about this whole flawed idea. The individual quoted:  surprise, surprise it isn’t former Senator Peter Burling. It’s Steve Williams, former Executive Director of the Nashua Regional Planning Commission.

I’ll give Williams a lot of credit at least he cuts right to the chase. In calling it an ante the argument is that for commuter rail to be successful it will require New Hampshire to provide a significant portion of the capital startup costs.  At this point the numbers were broken down and then the evil tax morph rises from his lair: property tax concepts and motor vehicle surcharges.

Interesting terms used to describe how to pay for something. Taxes to pay for the train.

Perhaps the legislature can use some of the new LLC tax money for this project.

The NH Rail Authority I think is flawed from the very start and this new tax scheme is just more nails in their coffin. In addition to not considering what the ridership would be on this train, it’s clear that the NH Rail Authority hasn’t done any analysis or even considered what nearby states are doing to not only advance passenger trains but overall transportation policy.

An example of this is Vermont.

Vermont finances not one by two Amtrak trains and does it at a fraction of the costs being suggested for New Hampshire. So how are they able to do this? They do this by acting in concert with the freight rail carriers that operate on the Amtrak lines and use the combined operations to reduce the overall fixed costs of major capital projects like track and structure maintenance. Vermont also seems to have a good working relationship with Amtrak itself; which I understand is helpful in projects like long-range route planning and marketing issues.

Is New Hampshire doing any of this?

They aren’t.