So after Congressman Bass responds about foreign trade I continue on the iniative asking Executive Councilor Ray Burton the following:
Q. "Councilor Burton you have told me and other constituents that you support the NH Rail Transit Authority, a quasi state agency that has no oversight and substantial contact and bonding authority to increase state indebtedness and costs to the taxpayers. How can you support this when there has been no evidence that passenger rail service between Concord and Boston would even be viable?"
Burton responds by talking about the Amtrak Downeaster and how Maine advanced this using Federal money. And how effective the Amtrak Downeaster is. I responded to this by offering a clarification that the Amtrak Downeaster was created by public referendum, over 500,000 signatures were collected and it was placed on and approved by vote in a public referendum. This doesn't exist in New Hampshire. So I followed up with another question:
Q. "Councilor how can you support a multi-million dollar proposal that probally isn't even viable, how many people from your district have been appointed to the rail authority and how many citizens of Manchester, Nashua and Concord are saying that they want this rail service?"
Burton responded by explaining that there would likely be a contract before the Governor and Executive Council to "study the feasibility of this rail service." As if this hasn't already been studied umpteenth times by every state Regional Planning Commission, Consultant and even Amtrak itself. Then the long-time Executive Councilor goes on describing the political process and how Governor Lynch makes his appointments including the influential former Sen. Peter Burling. And then he closed out his reponse by stating "New Hampshire has a long history of subsidizing mass transit systems, he cited Concord Trailways, now Concord Coach as an example "I support this." he said.
At this point Congressman Bass offered some comments to this Keynesian, big government, more taxes economic model:
"I remember when Manchester Airport was nothing more than a dilapidated hanger and parking was on the grass adjacent to the building for $1.00 if you choose to pay it." Congressman Bass said.
Then he described how far Manchester Airport has come in terms of development and what this has brought to transportation and economic development across the region. He also suggested that rail service into Manchester would assist in the development and create Manchester as a viable alternative to Logan Airport in Boston.
It was getting late in the evening and I decided against evoking a running debate as to how spending millions of dollars to run half-empty trains into Manchester is going to change the dynamics of an airport where ticket prices and parking are issues that can be resolved by just taking the bus into Boston's Logan airport.
It was good of these two elected officials to even offer this Town Hall meeting I think as time goes by and the next generation of individuals gets elected into offices like this this won't happen anymore.
They'll probably just do it online.