It’s unfortunate that days after the State of the Union Address, in which President Obama emphasized the value of building a high speed rail network for the nation, New Hampshire’s legislature will be considering a bill that could send the Granite State off the rails. On Tuesday, February 1, the NH House of Representatives’ Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on H.B. 218, which proposes to eliminate the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority — the body responsible for advancing the state’s much-needed passenger rail efforts.
The legislation, if enacted, couldn’t send a worse message. At a time when the federal government is working to reverse decades of neglect for the nation’s rail system, and when other New England states are actively planning and investing in rail expansions and upgrades, New Hampshire stands to miss out on the many benefits of rail — jobs, sustainable economic development, cleaner air, less traffic congestion, and more affordable transportation options.
The New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority is making important progress on the NH Capitol Corridor rail project — a new rail service that would connect Concord, Manchester, Nashua and Boston with one another, and with the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. New Hampshire should be supporting the work of the Rail Transit Authority, not seeking its elimination.
Help send a message to the New Hampshire legislature that NH citizens, and New Englanders who visit New Hampshire, want rail as part of a clean and balanced transportation system. Call your New Hampshire representative, or members of the Transportation Committee, and urge them to support rail, and the NH Rail Transit Authority, by voting against HB 218. Let’s keep New Hampshire on track!