To The Daily Sun,
To improve New Hampshire's economy, let's nvest in rail passenger and freight transportation.
Recently, the N.H. Republican legislators again denied chances to improve out economy. They removed the some $4 million for studies to evaluate the impact of rail transportation to this state. Senator Forrester was among those to deny this rail package. In once sense, she is probably correct. We no longer need studies, we need development — NOW. Rail transportation has been studied for years in this state, without action, except to order more costly rail studies. This state needs to invest in the rail infrastructure to move our state forward.
Already, nationwide, other states encourage and enhance rail transportation with excellent response to the economy as well as improving the employment picture of the affected communities. One example is the AMTRAK route that goes from New Orleans to Orlando Florida. Already companies are seeking resources to develop along this corridor which in turn will improve the economic picture of these Southern states. A mere passenger train is making major inroads to moving these states forward.
No more studies. Take a look at the communities along AMTRAK's Downeaster trains. These areas are growing with the promise of more trains to go as far North as Rockport, Maine. Eastern N.H, and Western Maine are already benefiting from this rail corridor.
The commuter services in this state are woefully lacking save from Concord, Manchester, and Nashua. N.H. needs to invest in rail transportation. One must understand, rail travel is really not a money-making venture unless those providing capital have endless financial resources. A bus coming from either Littleton or Berlin is not commuter friendly at all, as both buses arrive in Boston too late to be of commuter benefit. Many towns in Lakes Region are without any form of decent either rail or bus services. There is little or no mass transportation from Concord to Manchester Airport. Highways are congested.
There are several corridors worth such an investment. Already the Downeaster fills one void. There is the Northern corridor to the west, up to Lebanon and White River Junction, which also services Dartmouth communities and its name sake college. There is the central corridor which is the Lakes Region. There are rail lines in the North Country that will benefit from this expansion. The North Country is almost without reasonable connection to southern points in N.H. There is the Conway/North Conway, Crawford Notch Corridor which will enable direct connections to the Western U.S. and Canada. The tax benefit in improving this picture is enormous, and will pay handsome dividends such as improved employment, better business access to the rest of this nation.
AMTRAK is still studying to put in a "high speed line" to connect Boston to Montreal and Canadian points. There are two routes under consideration. The Northern Corridor, and the lines going through the North Country. It is suggested the better of these two routes is the Northern Corridor embracing Concord, Franklin, Lebanon, White River Junction and to the Northwest. The rail foundation is present, and was developed for 80 mph trains in its heyday. This can be improved further with rebuilding the line and promoting rail travel.
The advantages of developing these corridors now, are beneficial. 1. Employment for the construction. Once the lines are developed, many employees can then transfer to maintenance of the rail infrastructure. 2. Business and economy growth will be phenomenal and rapid. 3. While using the taxes to develop these corridors the financial rewards to the citizens of this state will be multiple. 3. Cost of highway maintenance will actually decrease once the traffic starts to move on the new and refurbished corridors. Air quality will improve with this transfer of the traffic to the rails. We can reduce the costly expansion of the interstate system that really is not needed. 4. The connection of the North Country to the southern parts of the state will drastically improve the overall economic picture. In turn, the two areas of the state can actually grow harmoniously together. It seems the North Country has simply been left out of N.H.'s economic "recovery," 5. With an improved economic setting, many of the social ills that burden this state can also be reduced significantly, such as the substance abuse pandemic facing this state. Families with more income will have less stress and yield healthier environments for children. 6. Business across the state are asking for improved rail service. It will provide an incentive to keep our young labor force here in this state.
It is time to stop the studies and get the sleeves up and get to work. Let's make N.H. a really great place to live and work. Improve our rail infrastructure. While rail is not the only means of transportation, access by rail will enhance other modes of transportation as well.
Robert T. Joseph, Jr.
- Category: Letters
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