Home » Opinion » Editorials
Not all trains are alike: A freight line's sobering perspective
With the exception of the clear-headed Chris Sununu, the Executive Council went along with Gov. Maggie Hassan last week in endorsing the study the House had earlier approved.
Passenger rail fans say the study is a big step forward in bringing passenger rail to southern New Hampshire. As for recent past studies, which debunked the idea? Well, they clearly were no good, say the train fans.
The only thing clear here is that rail fans won't be confused or deterred by the facts. The public, however, may want to take note of recent remarks by someone with some experience in railroading.
In a piece we ran last Friday, Pan Am Railways President David Fink was quite clear. Pan Am runs freight trains through New Hampshire and New England. It does so without taxpayer subsidy. Passenger service, on the other hand, will require huge amounts of taxpayer loot in New Hampshire, just as has been the case elsewhere. Fink cited Minnesota.
"There, a 40-mile rail line was upgraded at a cost of approximately $317 million for service into Minneapolis in 2009. Since the operation of the first train, ridership has consistently failed to meet projections, and the taxpayers of Minnesota are paying a subsidy of approximately $1 million per month to support a service that is failing to meet even muted expectations."
No problem with "muted" expectations here.
The passenger rail choir is loud and proud. It now includes some Nashua and Manchester businesses that insist they could attract more workers if they could be allowed to live in hip Boston and merely hop the train to work up here in the sticks.
This, they say, is the "big picture" that we need to look at. The train is an "investment."
If that is so, how about a rail tax on the willing? How about letting these people and businesses who say "build it and they will come" pay for it? Dave Fink and Pan Am pay the freight.
Let the passenger pushers follow that example.
READER COMMENTS: 9
- Kuster's abortion lies: Claims against Garcia are untrue - 29
- The Obamaconomy: Shea-Porter shows its flaw - 30
- Smith schools Hassan: Leadership in Londonderry - 0
- Where officers live: Manchester is missing the point - 4
- Leo Bernier: For Hillsborough County Commission - 0
- Insurance exchanges Sam's Club or Obama's club? - 11
- Garcia and Guinta: For a change, send them to DC - 22
- Jeanne's travel ban: She doesn't want Obama here - 14
- Making it up: Shameless state Senate attacks - 9
READER COMMENTS: 0
- John Habib's City Sports: St. Thomas coach: I owe Central - 0
- Armed burglar from Derry sentenced to prison - 0
- 'Bingo hunting' police use random license plate checks to make arrest - 0
- Bedford police investigating burglary at Verizon Wireless store - 0
- Police: Manchester man charged with endangering child after going 101 mph - 0
- FairPoint customer concerned about blocked emails - 0
- Plaistow narrows field in search for its new police chief - 0
- Man faces robbery, assault charges after extradition from NY - 0
- Hershey Bears shut out Monarchs - 0
Hockey brought them together; Hooksett ice rink will serve as NH couple's 'church' for wedding
Dartmouth women skaters beat Union
NH Audubon's Rare Bird Alert
Armed burglar from Derry sentenced to prison
Hershey Bears shut out Monarchs