To The Daily Sun,
The W.O.W. Trail's intentions are excellent, and can be a source of badly needed hiking activities in the Lakes Region area. It also provides a place where local residents can go safely for walking along scenic areas this region has.
The railroad which traverses the region is not the place to do this. This railroad is an economic engine and is also part of a long range plan to help N.H. develop further to promote expansion of the economic activity. Passenger rail is essential to conserving our environment, particularly with the latest reports of environmental disaster that could develop, potentially within our lifetimes today.
Over the years multiple groups have frequented the area providing tourist dollars as the guests visit the hotels, restaurants, hike the mountains, and view not only the scenic beauty of this state, but also to appreciate the historical value this state offers. In addition, a number of people are employed by a local railroad who depend on this line for secondary and full-time employment. The offerings by this railroad ensures that the guests are treated comfortably, are well fed, and enables them to enjoy the scenic areas along this line. Bus groups come to not only enjoy the scenery, but to be dined by local eateries nearby.
Many states are now turning to passenger and freight rail to improve their economic picture alone with making the environment much healthier in the process. High speed rail is actively promoted. Brightline in Florida is an example of this. The high speed networks are being constructed throughout the central core of this country. N.H. needs to develop this network internally to bring the northern/central parts of the state in congruence with the southern part of the state and the Boston area. Investing in the corridors will also help promote N.H. as a place to develop and grow businesses, especially in the high tech area. Presently, N.H. is the only New England State not to benefit from expanded passenger as well as freight rail.
By such an investment in these corridors, it can also promote international freight movement with Canada, particularly now that the revised NAFTA is completed and signed. There is much potential along this Winnipesaukee corridor, particularly with college students attending Plymouth State, and to help alleviate the long drive to the Boston traffic choked area. For one to meet an 8 a.m. appointment in Boston, one needs to leave at 4:30 a.m. to be on time. In addition, the dangers of the many impatient drivers seething in their driver's seats along with breathing the polluted air these cars exhaust is phenomenal. Many businesses need freight and passenger rail to both receive resources for their products, as well as ship their finished goods to all parts of the country. Passenger rail can provide an added transportation route for potential employees from the south as well as within N.H.
The W.O.W. organization, while its intentions are honorable, should either look elsewhere to locate the trail or at least learn to develop the trail alongside the tracks. They might consider developing a hiking trail along U.S. 3, the other side of Paugus Bay. Less costly, and beneficial to those who live along this corridor. Taking up the tracks is unacceptable, particularly since it is a very active railroad that contributes to the Lakes Region economy. In addition, it is a state-owned railway, and it is cost inefficient to continue promoting studies that are not appropriate for something that cannot happen. This is true conservatism, and throwing good money after bad is just poor economics.
Robert T. Joseph, Jr.