To the Editor: The legislature is once again advancing the idea of state subsidized commuter rail for New Hampshire.
This is an idea that neglects the reality of why the Granite State is failing at rail.
New Hampshire owns over 400 miles of railroad lines stretching from Concord to the North Country, down through Conway to the Seacoast. There’s even a western line to the Monadnock region near Keene. These state-owned rail properties could be a valuable engine of regional job creation and local tax base expansion but the state is doing nothing with these rail lines. The reason is reality.
Instead, the legislative study proposal is for shiny commuter trains from Boston that incidentally, would roll over a little used and largely neglected rail line to Concord that the state doesn’t even own.
Studies have shown that 90% of the freight traffic to and from New England arrives by trucks, not railroads. Railroads cannot compete with the cost and customer service of the interstate highway. It’s been like this since the 1960s.
Subsidizing commuter rail will do nothing to change reality. The legislature should consider scrapping some of the state-owned rail lines. They’re dead. They’ve been dead for a long time.