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?
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.
Still my intention to "taking ah break" from NHInsider.
But when I saw this rail item #111 I decided to jump down off the fence I've been interested in NH rail matters in the Granite State for some time.
This being said, this morning I contacted Executive Councilor Ray Burton to see why he voted to table #111 yesterday. Basically the absence of Councilor Sununu had something to do with this as is some inquries by Councilors Van Ostern and Pignatelli into this issue.
This is fair. But I still believe that NH DOT also did a fair and reasonable job in this state contract and that it should be approved.
So I'll be watching what the Executive Council does on the 15th relative to item #111.