Why Did They Table #111.

Today at its meeting the Executive Council tabled item #111 a state contract for an operating lease on some 18 miles of state owned railroad line between Wilton and Bennington.

Another example of what’s wrong with politics in New Hampshire.

This railroad line has been sitting rusting for some two years. The New Hampshire Department of Transportation solicited proposals to operate the line. The two applicants were:

Pan Am Railways based in North Billerica, Mass. (formerly Guilford Rail System).  

Milford-Bennington Railroad which previously held the lease on this state owned line for twenty or more years.

In the state contract the DOT stated that of the two applicants only one “was responsive” meaning only one provided the requested financial, operational and marketing information requested to make the determination as to which applicant should get the state contract.

Pan Am Railways provided this information.

Why weren’t they granted the state contract?

Enter politics.

All of the councilors supported the tabling motion for #111. Councilor Sununu wasn’t present at the meeting making this a 4-0 vote.  I didn’t hear any real reason(s), especially from Councilor Van Ostern why this really needed to be tabled so I’m having to assume or outright guess there has been some backroom politics involved between Rep. Peter Leishman, the owner of the Milford-Bennington Railroad and the Executive Council for this tabling motion.

It’s a 2 ½ year contract that runs until December 31, 2015. If Pan Am Railways does a poor job in operating this line then they can be replaced with a carrier that will provide the service.

It’s been tabled until May 15th.