The New Hampshire Rail Authority and its sponsor, The Department of Transportation are trying yet again to advance the idea of passenger rail between the Commonwealth and Concord. Their latest tactic:
At taxpayer expense of course.
According to published reports the rail authority has applied for a multi-million dollar grant appropriation from the U.S. Department of Transportation to study the whole idea of passenger rail into Concord. As in the past former Senator Peter Burling is the leader of this whole endeavor who according to the article hopes to have a response from Washington by early July.
I think the real structural problem here is the money.
I’m assuming that the total grant application is $3,000,000.00. According to the article the State of New Hampshire has to provide 20% which is $600,000.00.
Where is this money coming from?
I’m not a supporter of the NH Rail Authority I think it’s a handpicked cadre of Sen. Burling supporters trying to advance this whole idea of rail on the capitol corridor without any realistic basis in support of their plans including listening to the real authorities about the development of railroad projects, including the owner of the railroad line Pan Am Railways.
Also missing from this whole discussion is any evidence of grassroots support. For example the Amtrak Downeaster between Boston-Portland through the efforts of individuals and advocacy groups like Train Riders Northeast to build public support and referendum for this service.
Is Sen. Burling and his group doing any of this? Are there grassroots groups of individuals in the Concord area calling for rail service into this city? I don’t think that there are. Yet Sen. Burling still wants to spend $600,000.00 of NH taxpayer money on a project he supports.
Something is wrong here…