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Still a boondoggle: Sununu flip-flops on commuter rail

January 18. 2018 10:10PM

As an executive councilor, Chris Sununu called the Capitol Corridor project a boondoggle, and voted against a $4 million “study” that would pay for initial design work and financial planning for extending commuter rail from Nashua to Concord.

As governor, Sununu has included the $4 million in his recommendations for the state’s 10-year transportation plan.

He was right the first time.

Nothing has changed, but Sununu says he was persuaded by the potential benefits of commuter rail as the state put together its pitch for Amazon to locate its second headquarters in New Hampshire.

But nothing about that project, or Nashua’s plan to bring in private commuter rail service, justifies the $300 million Capitol Corridor project, which would require hefty annual subsidies from New Hampshire taxpayers.

Nor would we learn anything new by spending $4 million on design work. There have been endless studies on the economic impact of commuter rail. Why go through the expensive motions of designing a rail extension project that should never be built? Sununu admits he still has serious reservations himself.

This would be like paying an architect to design an addition to your house that you know you could never afford.

Sununu’s rail reversal is disappointing. He used to know this commuter rail fantasy has never made financial sense.

The House should strip this wasteful project from the 10-year transportation plan.

Transportation State Government Editorial

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