In rail study, restoring service in central, southern NH is focus
As the consultants and committee continue to refine rail and bus options this year – working toward a preferred state recommendation late in 2014 – a combination of both has merit, said Kenneth Kinney, a transit consultant with URS Corp., during the presentation. URS is working on the study with New Hampshire Department of Transportation and various stakeholders, including municipal, elected officials and bus operators.
The prominent option under study is the restoration of passenger rail connecting Concord, Manchester, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and Nashua to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority tracks to Boston. There has been no passenger rail north of Lowell, Mass., since 1967.
The state-local financial commitment for rail between Manchester and Boston would be $8 million to $10 million annually, according to preliminary analysis. The rough cost estimates are after federal support and fares are taken into consideration, and the source of that local matching funding is still to be determined.
The Federal Transit Administration and Federal Railroad Administration like the project, Kinney said. He said that a state-federal financial plan for a proposed rail option will not be completed until 2015.
The project website is: nhcapitolcorridor.com. The benefits and objectives, according to Tuesday's presentation, include:
• Improving access to higher-paying jobs in greater Boston. Commute from New Hampshire; return money to New Hampshire.
• Building that employee base to attract new businesses and grow existing ones in New Hampshire.