It's my intention to offer some more experience and analysis behind the recent Governor Lynch veto of H.B. 218. This includes a political response that I received from Councilor Ray Burton regarding the NH Rail Transit Authority and the reasoning for its existence.
But that will come later.
Recently, I got this e-mail message about Vermont and what this state is doing in rail. If you notice that unlike New Hampshire they are quietly and decisively making things happen; whether this is the expansion or re-establishment of Amtrak service to Montreal or the development of freight rail corridors that lead to economic development and jobs. And if you notice Vermont doesn't have an appointed 'Rail Transit Authority' with reaching powers like bonding and contract authority everything in Vermont is done as it should be with the approval of the Legislature.
H.B. 218 is a dangerous piece of legislation and now it's the law.
Source: Rail Vermont.org
On Wednesday afternoon GMRC equipment was used for a special train from
Essex Junction to Burlington for the Chittenden County Metropolitan
Planning Organization's annual meeting. Among the many dignitaries was
Secretary of Transportation Brian Searles.
In his remarks on the train, Joe Flynn mentioned that getting Amtrak to
Montreal is now the agencies #1 priority and the Western Corridor (VTR,
Rutland - Burlington) is the #2 priority. He mentioned how the agency
had 16 rail projects under construction (mostly bridges along the VRS),
an increase from the past. He also noted that Vermont Rail System
(especially on the Washington County RR Connecticut River line) had been
hit hard by the floods and had 44 separate FEMA sites (for which
restoration will be 75% paid for by FEMA). He sounded impressed by how
much work and how quickly Vermont Rail System had returned the lines to
Jeff Munger, Transportation Staffer from Senator Sander's office spoke
about continuing to try to get funding for the Western Corridor. I am
really pleased to hear that he is thinking about this creatively.
Dave Wulfson announced that the Vermont Rail System is spending $750,000
on the Vermont portion of the CLP this summer to improve the track
conditions, returning train speeds to the advertised timetable speed.
He also announced that the Vermont Rail System is launching a website,
http://vtwesternrailcorridor.com that focuses on the Western Corridor.
Executive Director, Vermont Rail Action Network