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Burning money: Wasting $4 million on rail

March 18. 2018 11:00PM

Last week, the New Hampshire House voted to light $4 million on fire.

Don’t worry, though. It’s just Uncle Sam’s money.

The House voted 166-160 to include a $4 million federal grant for the Capitol Corridor Rail Expansion project into the state’s 10-year highway plan.

Spending this money won’t build a foot of rail line, or carry a single passenger. It is for engineering and environmental analysis for a $300 million commuter rail fantasy that may never be built.

Indeed, it should never be built, at least not with public money. If the private sector wants to expand commuter rail options, and assume the risk if the route is not profitable, we have no objection.

But the Capitol Corridor project remains a massive waste of public resources. Gov. Chris Sununu used to understand this. He has since bought into the theory that taxpayer-subsidized commuter rail is the key to economic growth.

How would it help New Hampshire for us to make it cheaper for workers to commute to Massachusetts?

Compared to our $20 trillion national debt, burning another $4 million, or even $300 million, doesn’t seem that significant.

But after we spend Uncle Sam’s money, this boondoggle would remain a large and constant strain on New Hampshire taxpayers.

Transportation State Government Editorial

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