Another View: Passenger rail in NH would be a massive boondoggle
I am a retired highway engineer and transportation planner with more than 36 years of professional experience in eight states and Washington, DC. My opinions are based on experience, 42 years of transportation policy observations and objective study of publicly available information.
My opinions may or may not represent those of any group I am affiliated with. Except as a taxpayer, I have no financial interest or other stake in the Capitol Corridor project or in the subject study.
To be blunt, passenger rail in New Hampshire is a fool's errand. It has a near zero chance of solving any transportation problems and a near 100 percent chance of burdening the state with significant and continuing debt with insignificant or no offsetting benefits.
When federal operating subsidies run out, the state would have to either take over that burden or reimburse the government for its share of the salvage value of the infrastructure. This is the single reason why the governors of Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio declined to accept more than $3.6 billion in federal rail funds in the last two years.
The average New Hampshire resident would take a round trip on the train once every six years. Fewer than one in 2,000 residents would benefit from the project on a daily basis, and fewer than one in 300 on a weekly basis. That's the nature of rail in a transportation marketplace like New Hampshire's, and there is nothing any consultant can do that would change that for the better.
Train passengers would largely consists of well-heeled commuters to out-of-state jobs. Costs would be shared by families and workers across all income levels who would be unable to use the train for commuting to and from their lower paying in-state jobs.
According to a study by the Federal Transit Administration, "Urban rail transit investments rarely 'create' new growth, but more typically redistribute growth that would have taken place without the investment." Due to extremely low train ridership, it is unlikely train stations or the cities that contain them would be magnets for any kind of development, including so-called "transit-oriented development."
The state has all the information it needs right now to decide whether to proceed with the Capitol Corridor Rail Project. All indicators point to "don't do it!" None point to "spend another $3.65 million on another study."
Dick Lemieux, is a retired highway engineer in Concord.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- John Stossel: Be thankful for American property rights - 0
- Your Turn, NH -- Mike Moffett: Republicans can win in 2016 with Kasich at the top of the ticket - 7
- Charles Arlinghaus: 'Tis the season for budget games and gimmicks - 0
- Thomas Sowell: The 'experts' look down on you - 2
- Kathy Sullivan: We need to rethink some of our county government positions - 13
- David Harsanyi: The two-state solution is dead - 2
- Pat Buchanan: A rogue President remakes America - 2
- Another View -- Max Boot: Six steps to a better strategy for defeating ISIS - 1
- Jonah Goldberg: Wait, when did we finish talking about Gruber? - 5
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Henniker police shoot suspect in truck heist - 0
- More than 200,000 New Hampshire customers without power - 0
- Thanksgiving travel a nightmare as storm dumps heavy, wet snow - 3
- Dave D'Onofrio's Patriots Notebook: Pats put selves in strong position - 0
- Manchester Turkey Bowl will go as scheduled - 0
- Red Sox think they got free agent signings right this time - 0
- Turkey Bowls: Passion always on the menu - 0
- Manchester Turkey Bowl: Crusaders aim to rewrite history - 0
- Dave Solomon's Power Plays: Who knew what and when in PSNH scrubber case? - 0
Person found dead in Manchester alley
On being American: A point for reflection
Your Turn, NH -- Mike Moffett: Republicans can win in 2016 with Kasich at the top of the ticket
NH suffers 4th worst outage on record