Councilor pushes back on rail ad campaign
“It’s silly that we’re going to tell people how wonderful the Capital Corridor is when we don’t know if it’s a good idea or not. That’s why we’re doing a study,” said Sununu in questioning DOT Commissioner Christopher Clement at the Executive Council session Wednesday. “It’s putting the cart before the horse.”
The commuter rail proposal has been hotly debated for a decade. In February, the Executive Council voted to approve a $3.6 million feasibility study for restoring passenger rail service along the Merrimack River, with Sununu casting the only vote in opposition. The same study was defeated a year earlier by a Republican-dominated council.
The cost of actually restoring passenger rail from Nashua to Concord has been estimated at $250 million to $300 million. The study will determine the startup costs and provide estimates as to likely ridership, ongoing operating expenses and economic impacts.
The $40,000 education campaign would be funded with $32,000 from a Federal Railroad Administration grant and $8,000 from the state capital fund on behalf of the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority.
The memorandum of understanding between the DOT and the Rail Transit Authority for selection of a public relations consultant states that “the sole purpose of the selected consultant shall be to promote the mission and activities of the NHRTA and educate the public on the benefits of passenger rail, and shall not be specific to any single project or function.”
Sununu said claims that the PR campaign would be objective are contradicted in the written explanation of the project submitted to the council, which stated:
In other votes, the council confirmed the nomination of John T. Beardmore of Hopkinton as the new commissioner of the Department of Revenue; and Peter C. Hastings of Derry as the new commissioner of the Department of Information Technology.
The council accepted the nomination of attorney James W. Craig of Manchester, Minority House Leader from 2004-2006, as commissioner of the Department of Labor.
- Both are to blame
- Total Votes: 2194
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