Home » Opinion » Editorials
Off rail: The study we don't need
Last year the all-Republican Executive Council voted against spending $1.9 million to "study" whether commuter rail would work for New Hampshire. Supposedly the study would be objective. But the New Hampshire Department of Transportation already has studied commuter rail and determined that it would not be cost-effective. And the passion with which commuter rail believers have pushed this allegedly objective study indicates that they all believe it will reach the conclusion they want it to reach.
When the legislative Capital Budget Overview Committee approved the study two weeks ago, Nashua Board of Aldermen President Brian McCarthy, a rail supporter, called it "great news" and was quoted by The Telegraph of Nashua as saying "this gets us closer to having rail as a reality."
Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau told The Telegraph, "Getting this study done is so important because whether you're for rail or not for rail, unless the study is done, we're not going to be able to move forward or not move forward."
Well. It does not take a $1.9 million study to "not move forward" with commuter rail. All it takes is the realization that the money to build a rail line (estimated at $300 million, but likely more) and operate it (estimated at about $8 million a year, but likely more) is not available. The state does not have it. Nashua has nothing close to it. And Washington, $16.4 trillion in debt and counting, has run deficits of more than $1 trillion a year for each of the last four years because it hasn't the money to fund all of its existing commitments.
Sure, commuter rail is popular in Nashua. That is for two reasons. One, people think a line will run through the Gate City. It might not. Two, they expect others to pay for it. They might not.
The primary allure of passenger rail is that it is something for nothing. Public officials in cities that lie on potential future rail lines perceive massive benefits at tiny costs. They envision thousands of new residents and lots of business growth, with the costs borne primarily by federal and state taxpayers, not local taxpayers.
The 3-2 Democratic majority on the Executive Council, which is the next body to consider whether to approve taxpayer money for this "study," is expected to approve the study. Unlike the last council, the new one is receptive to the idea that fiscal responsibility means spending other people's money on one's own luxuries.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Strategery: A war by any other name - 23
- Freeh dumb: Favoritism in Vt.? - 5
- Public be damned: Litchfield latest example - 2
- NH's 9/11 victims: We cannot forget - 0
- Celebrating Stark: And America, in Manchester - 0
- NH's Obamabots: Taking their cues from party bosses - 66
- Spending & voting: MayDay's wasted money - 5
- For the NH GOP: Two new stars - 13
- 9/11 memories revived: 'A quiet, unyielding anger' - 8
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Manchester's Delana Curtis is left out in the cold - 0
- Another View -- Sharon Day: The Democrats' claim to be the party for women is just not believable - 0
- Dave D'Onofrio's Patriots Notebook: Brady a realist - 0
- Burning rubber: And public dollars - 0
- Obama to announce ramped-up efforts to beat Ebola - 0
- Quake strikes northeast of Tokyo, no reports of serious damage - 0
- Man claims rights were violated during investigation - 0
- U.S. hits Islamic State south of Baghdad in first strike under new Obama orders - 0
- DWI license revocations - 0
Win tickets to see Kip Moore
Win tickets to see Demi Lovato
Win tickets to see the John Butler Trio
Enter to win tickets to see the Dirty Heads
Strategery: A war by any other name
Freeh dumb: Favoritism in Vt.?
Lawyer wants cellphone evidence thrown out
Mexican man pleads guilty in international conspiracy to traffic hundreds of pounds of cocaine
Your Turn, NH -- Ted Menswar Jr.: How Manchester pulled together to honor one of its greats